January 6, 2014

Legislatively Speaking

By Senator Lena C. Taylor

Assisting Community Businesses

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation was created in 2011 to replace the former Department of Commerce assist the development of business in our state. When the legislation to create WEDC was signed into law, every program designed to assist women and minority-owned businesses.

My attempts to amend the bill to include programs to assist businesses owned by women and minorities were met with sharp resistance by the Republican majority in the legislature.

Fortunately, after a series of high level meetings I was able to convince the directors of WEDC that including businesses owned by women and minorities in our state’s economic development effort was not only good for our community, but vital to the future of our state.

Today, WEDC supports women and minority-owned business development by working with and providing resources for revolving loan funds and technical assistance businesses and to minority Chamber of Commerce’s. WEDC now brings together minority Chamber’s and other groups to form a minority business coalition with the goal of building partnerships to help grow and strengthen minority business development in the state.

One of the challenges our community faces is how can best help those small businesses that are starting from scratch. Our city if full of entrepreneurs and people that have good ideas and dream of starting their own businesses. The biggest hurdle they must overcome is how to raise enough money to fund their idea and make the dream a reality.

One way too address this issue is to allow small, start-up businesses to transfer state credits to assist them in getting a new business off the ground. Most of our state tax credits are geared toward companies that have been in business for years who can use the tax credits to offset their state tax liability.

Bur that doesn’t help a new business that without assets or a state tax liability. That’s why I co-authored Senate Bill 449 which would allow a small business to transfer state tax credits to pay for inventory, rent or other costs associated with starting new businesses.

Senate Bill 449 has passed the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Local Government and I expect it to pass the legislature and become law sometime this spring. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will; Romans 12:2.

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