In the budget plan unveiled Wednesday, Walker proposes increasing the cap on investments that companies can receive and still be eligible for state investor tax credits; the cap would increase from $8 million to $12 million.
“The $8 million cap has been in place for about a decade. Meanwhile, the venture capital needs of emerging companies have increased, especially for those companies engaged in capital-intensive industries,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “This proposal updates a key provision of Wisconsin’s Act 255 investor credit law, which has been a highly effective, nationally copied tool.”
Still says this move will increase access to capital for growing companies that show promise in job creation.
The governor also proposes increasing funding to WEDC by $6.3 million.
“WEDC is appreciative that Governor Walker’s budget calls for an increase in funding in the second year of the budget,” said Mark Hogan, CEO for WEDC. “The governor’s budget restores the funding that had been reduced in the FY15-17 budget when the Legislature required WEDC to utilize its reserve funds for programs and operations.”
Walker’s plan also would reduce the two lowest individual income tax brackets by 0.1 percent each, and expand the second lowest bracket.
“The small business community is supportive of reducing individual income tax rates,” said Bill Smith, Wisconsin state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. “Any reduction in those rates will be welcomed, and overall, tax relief will draw considerable praise from small business owners.”
He says lowering individual income tax rates will benefit small businesses, whose owners often pay the individual tax rate, not the corporate tax rate.
Smith also lauded the “back to school” sales tax holiday on specific school supplies, saying other states have had “significant” surges of shopping at local, small businesses after the implementation of sales tax holidays.
“That is good for families in Wisconsin, and good for small businesses as well,” Smith said.
— The guv’s plan also calls for moving to a self-insurance model for state employees.
Walker’s budget assumes $60 million in savings from the move if it started in 2018, meaning legislators would have to make up that money elsewhere if they wanted to eliminate the provision. But the guv added a twist that would make changing the proposal difficult: The $60 million in savings would go to help pay for the increase in per-pupil aid, meaning the Legislature would be pulling money out of schools by eliminating the provision unless they replace that money by cutting elsewhere.
— Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s HMO, Compcare, would be in charge of the statewide self-insured plan.
The GIB’s plan would also set up four different regions in the state where one or two companies would participate.
Compcare would participate in the eastern region, which would also include Network Health Administrative Services, LLC. The southern region, which includes Madison, would include Dean Health Plan and Quartz, a subsidiary of Unity Health Plans Insurance Corp., which is affiliated with UW Health.
The northern region would be managed by Security Administrative Services, a self-funded offering from Security Health Plan. And the western region would be handled by HealthPartners Administrators, Inc.