Gov. Walker visits Altoona, signs workplace wellness bill - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gov. Walker visits Altoona, signs workplace wellness bill

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Altoona (WQOW) - What little effort ittakes to sit in a chair and sign legislation could prove to energize an entirework place.

Governor Walker was in Altoona Wednesday to signa bill that will give a tax credit to companies for starting a workplacewellness program.

"Everybody islooking at ways to control their health care costs," said Bob McCoy, EauClaire Area Chamber of Commerce President.

Trubilt CollisionCenter in Eau Claire has just 19 employees, but hasalready looked at ways to help them manager their health.

"The Chamber had awellness program, and we just didn't have the personnel to really get itstarted and to maintain it. That's the biggest thing of any program.Maintaining it so it's going to be a longevity deal for one, two, three, fouryears for your employees," said Jerry Salter, Trubilt Collision CenterOwner.

The repair shop is thekind of business that Governor Walker hopes to help. He stopped in Altoona Thursday at Group Health Cooperative to sign a bill that gives a tax credit to small businessesif they do not currently have a workplace wellness program, but would like tostart one.

"A lot of bigcompanies do this routinely, they see it not only provides cost savings forthem as a company, but also it helps improve morale. And we'd like to help moresmall businesses across the state do that," said Gov. Scott Walker.

"80 percent of thebusinesses in our area are small businesses under 50 employees. Most of thoseare under 25 employees. So if they can benefit their employees and they canreduce their health costs, that's significant," added Bob McCoy.

"It is less sickdays, and people coming in, a better work environment. And we've been workingon that constantly for the last several years. Just trying to make it a betterworkplace," Salter said.

The amount of the taxcredit will equal 30% what an employer pays that year to provide the wellnessprogram.

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