Two more bills aimed to create jobs passed through the Senate Tuesday afternoon and are expected to be signed into law by the governor.
The two bills were part of Gov. Scott Walker’s special legislative session package and would provide businesses with access to more economic development tax credits and a relocation tax credit as a way to cultivate a better business environment in Wisconsin.
“Increasing the amount of economic development tax credits increases the opportunity we have to help businesses grow and create jobs,” Walker said in a statement. “As Wisconsin opens for business these additional resources will help us reach our goal of freeing the private sector to create 250,000 jobs.”
The bill would give the Department of Commerce an additional $25 million in tax credits to allocate to businesses across Wisconsin, increasing the total fund to $98.1 million. The DOC directs the economic development tax credits to business conducting job creation, capital investment and employee training, among other development projects.
Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, a co-author of the bill, said she hopes to ask for even more economic development tax credits next year if employers take advantage of the funds made available.
Yet Democrats do not believe the credits would be used until 2014.
“But an unused tool doesn’t fix anything and a tax credit that won’t be used until at least 2014 isn’t going to create a job today,” said Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona.
The Senate also passed a bill that would give a tax incentive to businesses ‘escaping’ their current state and relocating to Wisconsin.
“Wisconsin has been working overtime to send the message that the business climate is improving, and the state is putting significant financial resources into incentives for businesses to take advantage of Wisconsin’s emerging pro-business climate,” said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, in a statement.
The bill would provide credits to offset corporate income and franchise taxes for two years starting after a business relocates to Wisconsin and begins operations. However, a business that worked in Wisconsin anytime within ten years of claiming the relocation credit is not applicable.
The loss in tax revenue would be $280,800 annually, according to the non-partisan Fiscal Estimate Bureau.
The Senate passed both bills Tuesday with some bipartisan support – five Democrats voted for the relocation credit and six for development credits.