August 27, 2014

Governor weighs options on venture capital plan

With a venture capital bill failing last legislative session, Governor Scott Walker has his sights set on another go around. With the idea to fund start-up companies, the governor indicated last week a number of details still need to be worked out, while reinforcing the need for such a resource.

Walker told employees at Virent in Madison that most of Wisconsin’s new jobs will be coming from start-ups and growing small businesses rather than established corporations. He lauded the state’s current angel investor tax credit but said it only goes so far with companies that are struggling to make a profit.

“Getting a tax credit that doesn’t pay off for a few years doesn’t satisfy the landlord at your office who needs a payment now, not three years from now.”

The governor said the question remains if a venture capital plan will be best proposed as part of his state budget proposal or separate legislation. He mentioned among the ideas of handling the money is a fund-of-funds which the state would partner with private investment managers.

In attendance was Tom Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council who prefers the fund-of-funds approach. We asked Still if he prefers venture capital to be part of the budget proposal or a separate bill. “Do we have preference. The short answer is no,” said Still. “We just want to see it get done.”

Democrat Tim Cullen and Republican Alberta Darling are likely to introduce a bi-partisan Senate venture capital bill next session.

AUDIO:  Brian Moon reports (1:02)