The state Assembly has signed off on a bill that could help start-up businesses access the money they need to grow.
The legislation approved Thursday sets up a “fund of funds” using $25 million in taxpayer funding and at least $50 million from the private sector. State Representative Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin) says the money will help target companies in five key areas, which include businesses dealing with agriculture, information technology, engineering, advanced manufacturing, and medical devices.
Kuglitsch says he believes the bill is “something that is going to keep our best and brightest minds in the state of Wisconsin.
The legislation was approved with bi-partisan support, although some Democrats voiced concerns that the fund is too small to be sustainable in the long term. However, state Representative Fred Clark (D-Baraboo) says some funding is better than none and it “will help move the bar” in areas that have the potential for great job creation.
The bill has also drawn concerns because biotechnology companies, which have seen rapid growth in the state, were excluded from being eligible for funding. Sponsors of the bill deny the decision was based on politics, rather arguing that those companies often take time to mature and add jobs. Kuglitsch says the goal of the fund is to see job creation happen quickly, which is why it targets industries that often require less investments to get off the ground.
AUDIO: Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (:15)
The bill passed Thursday on a 91-2 vote. It now goes to the Senate.