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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

 1:58 PM 

VC bill passes with a bit of bipartisan dissent

The venture capital bill has passed the Senate on a 29-3 vote, with Sens. John Lehman, D-Racine, Fred Risser, D-Madison, and Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, voting against the bill.

Lehman said the bill was not the proper role for government to "become venture capitalists" and that it ignored more appropriate investments for the government to make.

"We're stepping in as a government... in a way I argue we should not," Lehman said. "I wish we had stayed today with a bill that follows our best bets. Our best bets are strong funding for university research, strong funding for technical colleges."

Risser also railed against the provision, saying the $500 million structural deficit made it hard to justify an endeavor like this, even a modest amount.

"Is it the state's job to get involved in gambling," Risser asked. "I don't know, I'm not a gambler myself. ... And it is a gamble, everyone admits its a gamble."

Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond Du Lac, said it would be a mistake to walk away from the culmination of years of work because it's an imperfect bill. He also said that if the bill shows some promise in the next few years, they can put more money into the fund to boost economic development efforts.

"This probably isn't the most perfect bill we could come up with ... but you know what, now it's here," Gudex said. "And this is something that I think we can nurture."


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