Governor Doyle: Announces $120 Million in Enterprise Development Zone Tax Credits in Budget

Ethnie Groves, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2156

Also Announces $400,000 for New Dental Clinic at the Marshfield Clinic

EAU CLAIRE – Governor Jim Doyle today announced his budget will expand the Enterprise Development Zone Program, making available $120 million in existing tax credits to help create and retain jobs and investment in Wisconsin. The Governor made the announcement during his keynote address at the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“A few months ago I announced a proposal to expand the Enterprise Development Zones program, which offers tax credits to help economically distressed areas attract new businesses and create new jobs,” Governor Doyle said. “The legislature approved parts of this expansion but not all of it. I am pleased to tell you that after the use of my partial veto pen, the budget I sign on Monday will expand it significantly – allowing us to release another $120 million in tax credits.”

The Enterprise Development Zone program provides tax credits to businesses that expand or locate in designated economically distressed areas. Businesses earn tax credits for jobs they create or preserve, and must meet their projected job creation and investment levels in order to receive the tax credits.

“In the past, this program has targeted only the largest businesses but we will now be able to help small businesses, which are our lifeblood,” Governor Doyle said. “It is a major step forward and I will be pleased to sign it into law.”

Through legislation passed in 1995, the Department of Commerce was granted the authority to designate 81 Enterprise Development Zones (EDZs) and allocate $243 million in tax credits. Ten zones were reserved for environmental remediation projects, and the department has either used or committed the remaining 71 EDZs. However, the department has allocated only $122.8 million of the originally authorized tax credits.

Governor Doyle said that projects already underway through the program have created more than 17,000 new jobs, retained more than 27,000 jobs, and generated more than $1.8 billion in private investment. By expanding the program and creating additional zones, the Governor said we can put to work more than $120 million in tax credits already authorized for economic development projects.

Also today, Governor Doyle announced that the budget will include a $400,000 investment into a new dental clinic at the Marshfield Clinic in Chippewa Falls. The new clinic will serve low income, disabled, and uninsured patients, and will ensure that those with oral health needs will be able to get care.

“I’m particularly happy that the new clinic will have pediatric dentists devoted solely to caring for kids,” Governor Doyle said. “Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in Wisconsin today – five times more prevalent than asthma. I know how terrible I feel when I have a toothache … I can’t imagine what it’s like for a kid trying to concentrate in school. This new clinic will help ensure good dental health for kids throughout the Chippewa Valley.”

An estimated 10,000 unique patients will be served once the dental practice is fully staffed. The clinic will contain 30 stations, staffed by six general dentists, two pediatric dentists, two oral surgeons, and six hygienists. The clinic will be open to everyone based on need, not ability to pay. It is estimated that adults will be 60 percent Medicaid, 20 percent low-income uninsured, and 20 percent commercially insured, and that children will be 69 percent Medicaid, 30 percent commercially insured, and one percent low-income uninsured.

“The dental clinic is a great example of what we can accomplish by working together as business and state, federal, and local government leaders, and I’m pleased to fund it in the state budget,” Governor Doyle said.