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Counties association head says taxes necessary to attract young professional talent

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Maybe taxes are getting a bad rap in Wisconsin.

That’s the part of a theory from Mark O’Connell, executive director of the Wisconsin Counties Association, holding its annual Legislative Exchange in Madison this week.

He says taxes are the stuff that fuels the public services contributing to the quality of life that younger generations search for.

“We have to get rid of this idea that taxes are bad,” O’Connell said. “If you want to attract the smart, young talent — the No. 1 resource for private sector profit — you need to invest in our communities, to make the attractive to the smart talent, which will fuel our economy.”

He maintains services like universal broadband and public transit are the things attracting Gen-Xers and Millennials. But in order to do that, communities need to investment in those things to remain competitive for attracting younger talent to the state.

“The gen-Xers and the Millenials think differently about the world,” O’Connell said. “They want quality of life.

“And we don’t really have that many in our state.”

And while O’Connell says it’s time to get rid of the “taxes are bad,” idea, he also understand that growth in business is beneficial for everyone in the state’s economy.

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