Rep. Clark’s Job Creation Bills
Small Business Credit Now
The economic recession coupled with much higher than normal rates of loan defaults in both consumer and commercial lending has forced banks to tighten their underwriting standards and make fewer loans. For small businesses, even those with established track records, lack of access to financing can mean lack of growth, or even business failure. The Small Business Credit Now bill will make financing available to small businesses by allowing them to use state tax credits “up front” as equity in a financing package.
Small Business Loan Guarantee Bill
Wisconsin businesses remain challenged by many factors, but one of the most significant factors for small businesses is lack of access to credit. Without commercial financing, many businesses are struggling to survive in an uncertain marketplace. Loan guarantee programs are effective tools for helping businesses secure financing by backstopping loans originated by private lenders.
This bill expands and updates WHEDA’s Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, by providing loan guarantees of up to 80% of the principle for start-up or expansion loans to small businesses with 50 employees or less in the manufacturing, processing, contracting, agriculture or forestry sectors
Wisconsin First Act
The Wisconsin First Act encourages our state and local governments to set minimum contracting goals directing that not less than twenty (20%) percent of a fiscal year’s purchases be procured from the Wisconsin-based businesses that employ our constituents and benefit our communities. Under the goals established by this proposal, this means that state agencies would be injecting nearly $200 million into our state’s economy. In addition, this bill requires the Department of Administration to begin collecting information about the domicile of all business entities with whom the state conducts business.
Wisconsin Food First Bill
The University of Wisconsin system purchases millions of dollars worth of food each year for their facilities around the state and many contracts for these purchases have been awarded to out-of-state companies despite cheaper, instate options. Currently, contract bids do not prioritize the cost of the product over “intangible” bid criteria such as packaging and product requirements, delivery conditions, “sampling,” training programs, and implementation and account representation. Under this system, local Wisconsin-based companies have been rejected in favor of out-of state venders that were not only significantly more expensive but also over 150 miles farther away. This bill requires the University of Wisconsin to use cost as the primary factor when determining bids for food contracts.
Save Our Main Streets, Part One
The recent recession has added to long-standing challenges facing businesses in downtowns throughout Wisconsin. Downtowns, especially in small municipalities, face high rates of turnover, vacant storefronts, historic buildings with high costs to maintain, and more and more pressure from “Big Box” and national chain stores locating on the edges of town. This bill revamps and boosts our investment in Wisconsin’s successful Main Street Program by increasing capacity to serve up to 10 new additional Main Street Communities each year, and provide enhanced consulting and technical services to current Main Street communities. The bill also directs the Dept of Tourism to promote and market Wisconsin downtowns for municipalities in the Main Street Program.
Save Our Main Streets, Part Two
The recent recession has added to long-standing challenges facing businesses in downtowns throughout Wisconsin. Downtowns, especially in small municipalities, face high rates of turnover, vacant storefronts, historic buildings with high costs to maintain, and more and more pressure from “Big Box” and national chain stores locating on the edges of town. This bill provides assistance in the form of loan guarantees directly available to downtown businesses and building owners by building upon existing WHEDA small business loan guarantee programs. It will target additional loan guarantees for businesses or building owners within designated Main Street Districts or Business Improvement Districts with less than $1 million in annual revenues. Qualifying projects for business owners include start-up or expansion, equipment or inventory purchase, or leasehold improvements. Eligible projects for building owners include renovation, rehabilitation, or expansion for commercial or mixed-use properties within Main Streets of Business Improvement Districts. Loans would be guaranteed for the lesser or 75% of project cost or $200,000.