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WBC newsletter summer 2010


  • Letter from the PresidentGreetings:

    The past few months have been busy for the Wisconsin Business Council. As the legislative session in Madison comes to an end, our organization was very successful in promoting and securing legislation that will grow the state economy, while working against legislation that would stifle future growth.

    Our membership is also growing rapidly, and we have a number of exciting projects were working on.

    The WBC Board of Directors has approved the creation of the following WBC Committees: EnergyInfrastructureHealth CareEconomic Development & Regulations/TaxesEducation & Workforce Development

    If you would like to be part of any of these committees please let us know.

    You can read about all of this, as well as a profile on one of our members Miller St. Nazianz in the summer edition of our quarterly newsletter. We look forward to keeping you updated as our efforts to improve the state economy and protect our quality of life continue.


    Phillip PrangePresident & CEO, Wisconsin Business Council

    Summer 2010


    Upcoming EventsInfrastructure Symposium Because of the legislative session, the previously planned symposium on infrastructure development in Wisconsin has been rescheduled for later this summer. The event is tentatively scheduled for July, so well keep you posted as we approach the date.

    Wisconsin Business Council

    14 W. Mifflin Street

    Suite 314

    Madison, WI 53703

  • Gubernatorial Candidate Economic ProposalsOver the past several months, the Wisconsin Business Council has met with Governor Doyle, Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald, Rep. Mike Sheridan, Sen. Russ Decker, Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, and other legislative leaders to discuss efforts to create new jobs and help businesses expand in the state.

    As part of those efforts to reach out to policymakers, weve had the pleasure of hosting Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker at WBC luncheons, and heard their visions for improving the Wisconsin business climate.

    While we havent yet had a chance to meet with Mark Neumann regarding his plans for growing Wisconsins economy, we thought we should share with you the relevant policy proposals that the Barrett and Walker campaigns have discussed thus far.

    Scott Walker

    Walker has set the goal of creating 250,000 new jobs by the end of his first term, and has provided a six-point plan to accomplish this goal:

    Lower Taxes: Walker has suggested lowering the business tax and income, freezing the property tax, and phasing out retirement income taxes. Less Regulation: State agencies should be more responsive to the customer and standards must be science-based and predictable. End Frivolous Lawsuits: Enact tort reform to block frivolous lawsuits and lower health care costs. Better Education: Give the UW System the tools to operate more like a business

    and pursue economic development opportunities, while increasing accountability. Improve Healthcare: Eliminate the state tax on Health Savings Accounts, provide full disclosure on medical procedures, and help employers tap into larger health insurance purchasing pools to share the risk. Strong Infrastructure: Focus on finding reliable energy sources and dependable transportation to strengthen Wisconsins infrastructure.

    More information on Walkers plans is available at www.scottwalker.org.

    The Wisconsin Legislature concluded its final floor period and adjourned for the year at the end of April with a flurry of activity. The following are a handful of bills that the WBC worked on this past session:

    The learn more about any of these pieces of legislation or how they might affect your business, please contact Brian Taffora at taffora@wibusiness.org.

    Wisconsin Legislative Update

    2009 Wisconsin Act 112

    Recovery Zone Facility Bonds and County Industrial Development Revenue Bonds

    The ARRA, the Federal Stimulus Act, authorized certain local governments to issue specified amounts of several types of tax-exempt bonds, including recovery zone facility bonds (RZF bonds), which are tax-exempt private activity bonds that allow businesses within recovery zones to finance certain depreciable capital projects. Act 112 provides for the waiver of city and county RZF bond allocations and the reallocation of those bond allocations by Commerce. The Act also provides counties with the power to issue industrial development revenue bonds.


    Tom Barrett

    Barrett has released a plan that he says would help the state create 180,000 jobs over the next three years. Among Barretts policy proposals are:

    Targeted tax cuts and incentives to help spur private sector job creation, including increasing research and development expenditures, A Jobs Now initiative, which includes reducing regulatory barriers for new construction projects, investing in workforce training, and creating a database that links Wisconsin suppliers and encourages more sales for state businesses. The creation of a centralized Office of Job Creation in the Governors office that reports directly to the Governor. An overhauled, streamlined economic development toolkit for the state to employ,

    including a simplified regulatory process and an expedited permitting process for businesses in the state. A state venture capital fund, called the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Fund, which would commit up to $100 million over the next five years to 8-10 venture capital funds, and raise at least $500 million in aggregate funds.

    Barretts complete plan is available at www.barrettforwisconsin.com.

    2009 Wisconsin Act 205

    Conduit Revenue Bonding Commission

    Act 205 authorizes two or more political subdivisions to enter into an agreement to create a commission to issue conduit revenue bonds. A single commission may be created under Act 205. In order to be

  • created, the commission must submit its formation agreement to the Attorney General before the first day of the fifth month after the effective date of Act 205 (the Act took effect on May 6, 2010). If more than one formation agreement is submitted to the Attorney General within this time frame, preference must be given to the agreement that demonstrates support from at least one statewide organization located in Wisconsin that represents the interests of political subdivisions and has political subdivisions among its membership.

    At the time of its creation, all members of a commission shall be a political subdivision of the state. Following creation, political subdivisions located in other states may join the commission. At all times, a majority of the board members shall be public officials or current or former employees of a Wisconsin political subdivision.

    In addition to the general authority to issue conduit revenue bonds, Act 205 enumerates a list of powers given to a commission, including the power to exercise eminent domain and condemn property. Bonds issued by a commission are not public debt. Unless otherwise expressly provided in the bond resolution, bonds issued by a commission are payable solely from revenues derived by the project to be financed, or from a contract entered into in connection with the bonds and pledged to the payment of the bonds. The bonds issued by a commission are not debts of the state or the political subdivisions creating the commission, and neither would be obligated to levy a tax or make an appropriation for the repayment of the bonds. Before a commission may authorize a bond to finance capital improvement project in Wisconsin, the project must be approved by all political subdivisions within whose boundaries the project is to be located.

    Subject to certain conditions and approvals, bonds issued by a commission may be exempt from state taxation if the bonds are used to finance projects related to elderly housing, acquisition of information technology by health facilities, or housing and community development.

    2009 Wisconsin Act 265

    Angel and Early Stage Seed Investment Tax Credits

    Act 265 increases the maximum amount of angel investment tax credits that may be claimed in a tax year from $5.5 million to $6.5 million for calendar year 2010, and from $18.0 million to $20.0 million for tax years beginning after December 31, 2010. (These limits are in addition to $250,000 in credits that are available for investments in nanotechnology businesses.)

    Act 265 also allows a claimant to claim an angel investment credit for an investment in a business that was located out of the state, if the investment was made no more than 60 days before that business relocated to Wisconsin, and the business is certified as a qualified new business venture within 180 days after the relocation to Wisconsin.

    Act 265 increases the maximum amount of early stage seed investment tax credits that may be claimed in a tax year from $6.0 million to $8.0 million for calendar year 2010, and from $18.5 million to $20.5 million, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2010. (These limits are in addition to $250,000 in credits that are available for investments in nanotechnology businesses.)

    The Act authorizes Commerce to promulgate rules to reallocate angel investment and early state seed investment tax credits that are unused in any calendar year to persons eligible for the jobs tax credit created under Act 28.

    Post-Secondary Education Tax Credit

    Act 265 creates a post-secondary education tax credit under the state individual income and corporate income and franchise taxes generally available for amounts paid for tuition for a nonfamily member who was eligible for a grant from the federal Pell Grant program.

    The credit may only be claimed for the tax year in which the in