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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

 12:21 PM 

Senate approves another $25 million for development tax credits

The state would add another $25 million to the Commerce Department's economic development tax credit program under legislation the Senate approved today.

The 25-8 vote sends the bill to the guv's desk, the fourth of his seven special sessions bills to clear both houses of the Legislature so far this session.

The Senate rejected an amendment that would have redirected the money to another jobs program that Minority Leader Mark Miller would provide immediate relief. He pointed to Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo that suggested it was unlikely companies would claim the additional $25 million in credits in 2010-11 or the 2011-13 biennium. The memo pointed out $73.1 million of existing credits in the program had not been allocated as of January.

"There's already money in the bank," Miller said of the credits.

But Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, countered part of the problem was the Commerce Department was not focused on jobs under the Doyle administration. In contrast, Lazich said the Walker administration plans a laser-like focus on jobs through the Commerce Department.

She also pointed to an entrepreneur in her district who was trying to persuade his investors to set up shop in Wisconsin for his latest project and that steps like this would send a message to them.

"I hope in six months that I'm back here asking for more, that this isn't enough," Lazich said of the additional $25 million.


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