Bill authored by Sen. Lassa expands WHEDA's ability to lend to small businesses
Madison — A bill expanding the authority of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) to make small business loans, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) along with Representative Michelle Litjens (R-Oshkosh) and Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan), was signed into law by Governor walker yesterday.
The new law removes 1980s-era restrictions that placed geographic, administrative and industry-sector limits on WHEDA’s ability to finance business development projects. Removing those limits broadens WHEDA’s ability to participate in job creation and retention. In addition, the provision permits WHEDA to issue up to $150 million of bonds per year in support of business expansion projects. There had previously been a $200 million overall cap on the program.
“WHEDA has had a great track record in housing lending, and it is now becoming a greatly-needed source of capital for businesses as well,” Lassa said. “The easing of these restrictions will enable WHEDA to direct millions in loans to businesses, permitting them to grow and expand to create new jobs and keep existing companies in Wisconsin.”
Sen. Lassa emphasized that the obligations created by the bonding authority are those of WHEDA, not the State of Wisconsin. “WHEDA has made sound investments in the past, but it’s important to know that state taxpayers don’t shoulder any of the risk for WHEDA bond issues,” she said.
Sen. Lassa is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, and is also a board member of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.