Wis. Gov. Scott Walker Thursday proposed boosting the state's economy through millions of dollars in tax credits aimed at nurturing technology and other start-up companies.
Speaking at an economic development conference near the Capitol, the Republican governor pledged to include the proposals in his budget bill he will introduce on Feb. 20. That legislation must still pass both houses of the Republican-controlled Legislature and be signed to become law.
"The majority of jobs created in Wisconsin will come from small businesses or employers who are just getting started. The initiatives contained in my budget proposal will support entrepreneurship and innovation," Walker said in a statement.
Walker also said he is developing a plan to provide venture capital to start-up companies, but he has not decided whether to include that in his budget or advance it as stand-alone legislation. He said he had not decided how large the program would be, but expected to announce details by next week.
He said the venture capital plan would not include a role for certified capital companies, or CAPCOs, which drew criticism in an earlier state venture capital program.
On Thursday, Walker put his focus on other investments that he said would boost the economy. He unveiled his plan at a Madison meeting of local and regional economic development groups. Specifically, he governor proposed:
Providing an additional $75 million in available credits for the Economic Development Tax Credit program. Walker said the existing credits -- used to encourage businesses to make investments, create jobs or retain jobs -- would run out within a couple of months.
Investing nearly $6 million in programs to support entrepreneurs and start-up businesses with the potential to create large numbers of good-paying jobs.
Increasing the number of start-ups in Wisconsin by providing matching funds to communities and other groups to run programs helping entrepreneurs with mentorship, business planning, and networking with investors and other contacts.
Providing access to financing for entrepreneurs who have successfully completed an accelerator program. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the state's main jobs agency, is already moving in that direction.
Spending $10.9 million through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. over the next two years to market the state to businesses.
Giving a $500,000 grant to VETransfer, a business accelerator program for veterans looking to start their own businesses. At least $300,000 would go to grants to Wisconsin start-ups owned by veterans.
Lifting the overall cap on Angel Investment Tax Credit program aimed at encouraging investments in start-up companies. The proposal would retain the current annual $20 million cap on the program.
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