UpFront: Biz representatives see state budget as good for business

On Sunday’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha”, Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce Vice President of Government Affairs Steve Baas and Milwaukee technology entrepreneur Kelly Fitzsimmons said the state budget as passed last week will be good for businesses and entrepreneurs.

“I think this budget does a lot of great things directionally,” Baas said, pointing out that it reduces taxes on individuals and businesses, lowers the compliance burden and simplifies the tax code.

Fitzsimmons said there is “welcome news for entrepreneurs in the budget.”

“If there is less tax burden, if you have less regulatory burden, less compliance burden–all of that ultimately makes it easier and more cost-effective to have our businesses in Wisconsin,” Fitzsimmons said.

Fitzsimmons while taxes may not be the most important factor early on for entrepreneurs, who rarely see a profit in their first years, lower taxes could influence whether entrepreneurs remain in the state and grow their companies.

Baas noted that entrepreneurs and existing companies need to be convinced to be here and are looking for signals about the direction of the state.

“This budget sends a lot of positive signals that this Legislature and this governor are working very hard to lower the tax burden, to lower the regulatory burden, to work as partner with business, be it a startup, be it established businesses,” Baas said. “Those are things that don’t go unnoticed in the competitive environment of job creation. ”

The two also discussed separate legislation creating a venture capital fund with $25 million in government investment.

Fitzsimmons said the state has done well working with angel investors already, and making Wisconsin more competitive in the venture capital arena is the next step.

While some would like to see a bigger fund, Baas said venture capital is a “dicey area” for politicians, and the state took a good, but “understandably cautious” first step.

Watch the program: