Gov. Doyle: Governor Doyle Signs Legislation to Increase Venture Capital Investment in Wisconsin


Jessica Erickson, Office of Governor Jim Doyle,

Also Signs Measure to Help Small Manufacturers Modernize, Create Jobs

MILWAUKEE – At a bill signing ceremony at Oilgear Company in
Milwaukee today, Governor Jim Doyle signed into law two economic development
measures that were priorities within the Governor’s “Grow Wisconsin” plan.
The bills will unleash investment in early stage companies and help
manufacturers improve their competitiveness.

“Here in Wisconsin, we have great research institutions, a
budding biotechnology industry, and a long tradition of great
entrepreneurs,” Governor Doyle said. “But we are sorely lacking the venture
capital needed to turn those good ideas into great Wisconsin companies. If
we want to help our entrepreneurs capitalize on their ideas, we need to
attract more capital to Wisconsin – especially seed and early stage

Senate Bill 261 creates two tax credit programs to encourage
investment in start-up companies, and creates a new program at the
Department of Commerce that will provide funding and technical assistance to

Specifically, the bill provides $65 million of tax credits
over the next decade to encourage investors to invest money, time, and
expertise in new Wisconsin companies. The credits are targeted at seed and
early stage companies where investment is especially scarce. When fully
deployed, the credits will leverage over $260 million of investment from the
private sector.

“This legislation will inject critical investment in our
state’s economy,” Governor Doyle said. “It will not only allow
entrepreneurs and start-up companies to get the early financial help they
need to grow – it will also help them turn their great ideas into good, high
paying jobs for Wisconsin citizens.”

The bill also creates a network of assistance centers to
support entrepreneurs statewide. For the first time, Wisconsin will offer
both expertise and grants to companies applying for federal funds or private
sector funding.

Injecting new capital into the economy is a major priority
of the Governor’s “Grow Wisconsin” plan. Last fall, the Governor outlined
five requirements for a strong venture capital plan, and issued a challenge
to the Legislature to work with his Administration to make sure any bill met
those five requirements. The Governor’s requirements were the plan had to
be affordable, target seed and early stage companies, be aimed at high-end
jobs, leverage additional investment, and avoid excessive administrative

The Governor said SB 261 represents a bipartisan answer to
his challenge, and thanked the bill’s lead authors – Senators Ted Kanavas
and Julie Lassa and Representative Ann Nischke.

Governor Doyle also signed legislation that will help grow
the Wisconsin economy by investing in the future of manufacturing companies.

“Manufacturing is a vital part of our state’s economy,”
Governor Doyle said. “Yet the manufacturing sector has been hit very hard
across the country, and Wisconsin is no exception. In the last three years,
Wisconsin has lost more than 84,000 manufacturing jobs. We are at a
critical moment when we need to invest in our manufacturers, or risk losing
them forever.”

Assembly Bill 859 provides funding to manufacturing
extension programs in Wisconsin that will help small manufacturers modernize
to stay competitive and create new jobs. Wisconsin has two centers – the
Northwest Manufacturing Outreach Center at UW-Stout and the Wisconsin
Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) in Madison. WMEP has provided
assistance to the Oilgear Company and its workers on four major projects
that have helped reduce waste and remove inefficiencies in the manufacturing

“These centers provide valuable services that our
manufacturers rely upon,” Governor Doyle said. “This legislation will
provide $1.5 million in funding that will allow these organizations to
continue to help our manufacturers modernize, stay competitive, and create
new jobs in Wisconsin.”

Governor Doyle thanked the bill’s lead authors –
Representatives Terri McCormick and Tony Staskunas and Senators Sheila
Harsdorf and Dave Hansen.

Both bills are among a number of “Grow Wisconsin”
initiatives that have been signed into law by the Governor. Other
successful measures include: eliminating the tax on creating jobs;
implementing the most aggressive regulatory reform in the Midwest;
expediting the process of siting needed power generation and transmission
facilities; and modernizing Wisconsin’s financial industry while protecting

Governor Doyle signed both bills with partial vetoes. In SB
261, the Governor used his partial veto pen to accelerate implementation of
the program in order to allow entrepreneurs to access funds and technical
assistance this year. In AB 859, the Governor eliminated a cut to the
Wisconsin Development Fund (WDF), which supports a number of important
economic development programs, in order to fully fund both WDF and the
manufacturing extension partnerships.

The Partial Veto Message on SB 261 can be found online at, and the
Partial Veto Message on AB 859 can be found at