— WEDC officials say they’re looking to pick up the pace on revoking tax credits from businesses that fail to meet the terms of their contracts.
“Our contracts for smaller tax credits usually run about five years, but it has historically taken us a while to get to looking at those and closing those out,” said Jennifer Campbell, chief legal officer for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
During a meeting of the agency’s Audit and Budget Committee, members discussed actions being taken in response to the latest biennial WEDC audit from the state Legislative Audit Bureau. The April audit included a number of recommendations for improving WEDC’s processes, including updating procedures on tax credit revocation to do so in a more “timely manner.”
In one example, a business that received tax credits from the state indicated in March 2017 that it had lost all of the contractually required jobs that were previously created. But WEDC didn’t revoke the $125,000 in tax credits until more than three years later, in June 2020.
“It has historically been a resource issue,” Campbell said yesterday. “But the team has a plan in place for all those tax credits that have kind of been lingering; we’re just going to really push through those and hopefully this fall get caught up, so this isn’t as big of an issue.”
— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” features an interview with Richard Lewandowski, senior counsel with the law firm Husch Blackwell in Madison.
Lewandowski shares his perspective on the evolving conversation surrounding PFAS chemicals in Wisconsin. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are synthetic chemicals used in a variety of industrial processes and in consumer and commercial products, such as non-stick pans and firefighting foam.
In recent years, studies have identified wide-ranging health issues associated with PFAS, of which there are more than 5,000 different types.
“They’ve been around since about the 1940s, but we’ve only had the technology to find them, and find them at really low levels over the last few years,” he said. “So they’ve been around for a long time, but we just really haven’t known much about them until recently.”
Listen to the podcast here: http://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/wisbusiness-the-podcast-with-richard-lewandoski-of-husch-blackwell/
See a full list of WisBusiness podcasts: http://www.wisbusiness.com/audio-video-podcasts/
— The state’s unemployment rate in May was unchanged from April’s rate of 3.9 percent, according to the latest federal figures released by the state Department of Workforce Development.
Wisconsin’s May unemployment rate was well below the national unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, the release shows.
The state added 3,400 private sector jobs over the month, with gains in manufacturing employment offset by job losses in construction, hospitality and entertainment.
See the report here: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/press/unemployment/2021/210617-may-state.pdf
— The state Department of Safety and Professional Services has announced a new structure that will lower fees for dozens of different licenses.
According to a DSPS release, that means hundreds of thousands of license holders in the state will pay less to renew their credentials. In total, 90 of the 170 licenses that have fees set by the department, rather than statute or administrative rule, will have lower fees starting in July.
No licenses will have higher fees, and the new structure also includes a $60 ceiling for all fees. The release shows the greatest decrease will be for registered sanitarians, with a $24 reduction. This fee schedule will be in place for fiscal years 2021-2023.
“We are mindful of both the cost and quality of our services, and we seek to make adjustments both to what we charge and also the resources we have at our disposal to do the best work we can for the people of Wisconsin,” said DSPS Secretary Dawn Crim in a statement.
See the full list of license fee changes here: http://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/DSPS-Fee-Table.pdf
— UW-Madison’s National Magnetic Resonance Facility is set to join a new collaborative network for scientific analysis that’s being funded by a $40 million award from the National Science Foundation.
The NSF award establishes the Network for Advanced NMR, which also includes the UConn School of Medicine and the University of Georgia. Through this partnership, scientists at each of the partner universities will have greater access to the latest advanced molecular analysis technology, which can be used for drug discovery including new antibiotics.
Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy uses magnetic fields to analyze the composition of various molecules’ atoms, granting researchers valuable insights into these minuscule, complex structures. Aside from applications in medical research and biology, NMR can also be used in the material sciences field.
As part of the new partnership, UW-Madison’s National Magnetic Resonance Facility will install a new NMR spectrometer. It will be the first of its kind available for shared use in the United States, according to a release from UW-Madison.
“Knowledge bases will help users figure out which experiment is most appropriate to get the data they need, how likely it is to work for their particular sample, what kind of information they can get out of an NMR experiment, and how that can help solve their problem,” said Katie Henzler-Wildman, co-director for UW-Madison’s NMRF.
— Renew Wisconsin’s Solar for Good program has awarded over $150,000 in cash grants and solar panels to 16 nonprofits for installing on-site solar energy systems.
Nearly $2 million will be invested in the state’s renewable energy sources because of the Solar for Good’s 2021 grants, according to a release.
Upon accepting a grant, each nonprofit is required to educate their community about the benefits of solar energy.
Solar for Good has awarded grants to 108 Wisconsin-based nonprofits since 2017. Over the past eight years, Solar for Good helped partner nonprofits add over 4.6 megawatts of renewable energy to Wisconsin’s electric mix, which is enough to power over 900 homes.
# A comforting end: Nonprofit aims to create a hospice house for those experiencing homelessness
# Highlights of Republican-authored Wisconsin state budget
# How the Couture developer brought $129 million to Milwaukee
– Emerald Acres receives National Elite Holstein Breeder Award
– UW-Parkside announces scholarships for in-person, online youth camps
– Foam containing ‘forever chemicals’ likely used to extinguish Chemtool fire in Illinois
# HEALTH CARE
– Health officials tracking new COVID-19 variant in Wisconsin
– Jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week
– All City of Milwaukee employees could be paid at least $15 an hour
– Wisconsin Supreme Court says judges have no wiggle room to expunge young offenders’ convictions
– Details emerge on Harley-Davidson’s new stand-alone electric motorcycle — LiveWire One
– Highlights of Republican-authored Wisconsin state budget
– Who are the 14 House Republicans who voted against a Juneteenth holiday? And why?
– Wisconsin Assembly passes ban on ‘vaccine passports’
# REAL ESTATE
– How the Couture developer brought $129 million to Milwaukee
– Former Packers executive: Aaron Rodgers standoff likely to last through training camp
– Summerfest’s new children’s play area that doubles as a community park is inclusive for kids of all ages and abilities
– EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh to take flight again in 2021
# PRESS RELEASES
<i>See these and other press releases: