Walker outlines economic development funding priorities

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has announced several key economic development initiatives aimed at improving the business climate and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Continually improving our economic environment will foster small business growth and encourage the creation of new businesses,” Walker said. “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.”

The economic development programs and initiatives that would be funded Walker’s next budget include:

* Investing nearly $6 million in Seed Accelerator and Capital Catalyst Programs at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

* Providing $10.9 million over the biennium to support WEDC’s marketing program promoting Wisconsin as a great place to do business. WEDC marketing focuses on attracting businesses, promoting investment opportunities in Wisconsin and changing the negative perceptions that may still exist about doing business in Wisconsin.

* Providing an additional $500,000 grant to VETransfer through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Trust Fund. VETransfer is a business accelerator for U.S. Veterans looking to start their own businesses.

* Providing an additional $75 million in available credits for the Economic Development Tax Credit program. This tax credit is aimed at encouraging businesses to make capital investments, expand and retain jobs, invest in job training, and locate or retain their corporate headquarters in Wisconsin.

* Lifting the cap on the state’s Angel Investment Tax Credit, which is focused on encouraging private investment in start-up companies. The budget removes the maximum cap, which is currently set at $47.5 million, but retains the annual limit, effectively allowing this program to continue into the future. “This is welcome news for Wisconsin’s angel investor community and for the many emerging companies that grow through angel investment dollars,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Retention of the cap was an oversight that diminished the programmatic certainty needed to ensure uninterrupted investment in Wisconsin companies.”

* Expanding the Department of Tourism’s effective marketing campaign by allowing the department to keep over $1 million in funds previously contained in a budget lapse.

Walker will deliver his state budget on Feb. 20.

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