New Plan in the Works to Help Provide Tax Money for High-Tech Firms

Lawmakers, financial groups, and others are trying to draft a more acceptable plan to provide tax money as venture capital for new high-tech firms in Wisconsin. During a panel discussion this week, John Neis of the Venture Investors’ firm of Madison said another effort to approve venture capital will be made next year in the Legislature. And Neis said there appears to be a more “unified front.” A plan to have Wisconsin taxpayers shell out 400-million dollars for start-up firms was rejected in the last session. Opponents said it was too much like a 1999 program in which three out-of-state capital firms ended up with millions in state dollars, while creating only 202 jobs. Bryan Renk of the Bio-Forward group says the new effort will involve a much larger coalition that knows a lot more about the possible pitfalls – and what could work best for Wisconsin. Renk said the Wisconsin Technology Council and Competitive Wisconsin are also involved in the current talks. The matter was discussed during a lecture series in Madison, sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.