On January 14, 2010, the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance unanimously approved a legislative proposal (SB-409) that if enacted into law supporters say will boost the economy by expanding the angel investment and early stage seed investment tax credits, creating a post secondary education tax credit for businesses and creating and expanding various grant and loan programs administered by the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Department of Commerce. The proposal, referred to as the CORE Jobs Act, which stands for Connecting Opportunity, Research and Entrepreneurship is now available for a vote by the full Senate.
CORE includes the following provisions:
Creating New Jobs and Businesses
- Expands the Accelerate Wisconsin Program by increasing the 2010 limit on angel investment tax credits for investors in early-stage companies from $5.5 million to $6.5 million, with credits increasing to $20 million a year starting in 2011;
- Includes $2 million for WiSys Small Business Assistance program to facilitate research commercialization partnerships between businesses and state academic research institutions, as well as intellectual property management services to UW-extension schools;
- Creates business plan competition program at university and college campuses to enable entrepreneurial services to students and foster entrepreneurism, funded at $125,000 annually;
- Starts a $500,000 micro-loan program to provide loans ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 to new small business start-ups in areas with high unemployment;
- Includes $75,000 to establish a Regulatory Ombudsman Center in the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to speed business start-ups, and expansions by providing one-stop shopping for permitting and regulatory needs; and
- Establishes an Emerging Technology Center at the UW-La Crosse funded with $400,000 to facilitate research commercialization and new company start-ups.
Retaining and Building Businesses
- Provides $100,000 to fund a position at the Wisconsin Technical Council for an Small Business Innovation Research (“SBIR”) grant writer to help companies compete for federal SBIR grants and provides $100,000 to create the Wisconsin Business Intelligence System (WISBIS) to provide economic modeling data for regional economic development entities;
- Provides additional $1 million for the Wisconsin Development Fund used to attract and retain businesses;
- Provides $2 million in financial incentives to re-tool closed factories for use in renewable energy production or manufacturing; and
- Includes grants to encourage companies to locate operational centers in rural areas that would otherwise go oversees.
Education and Training
- Increases funding by $1 million for Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training Grants; and
- Creates a tax credit for businesses that pay university or technical college tuition for their low-income employees.
CORE was introduced last November by Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point). CORE passed unanimously out of the Senate Economic Development Committee last December. Governor Jim Doyle has expressed support for the proposal. Additional alerts will be sent as the Bill makes its way through the legislative process.