WEDA Legislative Update

WEDA testifies on AB 627, the Business Development Tax Credit Modernization Bill.

As we wrap up the year, things will be relatively quiet in the halls of the State Capitol during the holidays, but legislative actively will quickly ramp up in the Newy Year, as state lawmakers enter the final months of the current legislative session. Of course, WEDA will continue to engage in the legislative process during this two-month sprint to the end of the session to make sure our voice is heard, and our priorities rise to the top of the pile as lawmakers consider hundreds of bills.

WEDA’s top legislative priorities include Assembly Bill 627, legislation that would modernize the state’s Business Development Tax Credit, and Assembly Bill 660, which would create a childcare tax credit for businesses that offer childcare benefits for their employees. Late last month, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee held a public hearing on both legislative proposals.

WEDA would like to thank the following three members who traveled to the State Capitol to testify in favor of the legislative proposals on behalf of WEDA: Charlie Walker, Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation; Angel Whitehead, Centergy; and Coleman Peiffer, Alliant Energy.

All three did a tremendous job representing WEDA and impressing on lawmakers the importance of both bills to expand the state’s economic development toolbox and address Wisconsin’s workforce shortage.

Please CLICK HERE to read WEDA’s written testimony on AB 627 and HERE for the testimony on AB 660.

WEDA Legislative Priorities Overview:

The Business Development Tax Credit Modernization Bill (AB 627) would align the BTC with today’s economic realities, making it a more flexible and effective business attraction and retention tool for the state. The BTC modernization bill as initially introduced would make the following changes to the current program:

  • Modify tax credit eligibility to emphasize capital expenditures rather than job creation.
  • Increase the amount of the tax credit for capital expenditures.
  • Provide additional tax benefits for businesses that invest in workforce housing for their employees.
  • Provide additional tax benefits for businesses that invest in childcare benefits for their employees.

The bill’s authors have introduced an amendment to the bill to address issues raised by WEDC. The amendment includes a change that would eliminate the tax benefit increase for capital expenditures. WEDA did not support this change, and we hope to address it when the bill is considered by the full Assembly.

The Business Childcare Tax Credit (AB 660) would create a refundable tax credit to incentivize employers to provide childcare benefits for their employees. The bill will help address the lack of access to affordable childcare in Wisconsin, which is an obstacle to strengthening the state’s workforce. The total amount of the credit for eligible businesses would be equal to:

  • The amount of capital expenditure made to establish an employee childcare program, not to exceed $100,000 per tax year; and/or
  • The amount of expenses incurred in operating an employee childcare program or proving direct payments to a childcare program for an employee’s child, not to exceed $3,000 per participating child of an employee.

Both legislative proposals will be the primary focus at the 2024 WEDA Legislative Day, which will be held on January 24, 2024. We will also be discussing the following legislation with lawmakers part of Legislative Day:

  • Wisconsin Manufacturing Automation Grant Bill – This bill would require WEDC to award grants to small- or medium-sized manufacturers headquartered in Wisconsin for the purchase of advanced manufacturing technology hardware and software. Under the proposal:
    • No grant awarded under the bill may exceed 33 percent of the purchase price paid by the manufacturer for the hardware and software or $200,000, whichever is less,
    • The manufacturer is required to have established an advanced technology adoption implementation plan approved by the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity, Inc., that includes the purchase of the hardware and software that is subject to the grant and requires that such hardware and software be utilized in Wisconsin.
    • WEDC must coordinate with the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity to implement the grant program.

Please CLICK HERE to review all of the legislative proposals WEDA is actively lobbying on during the 2023-24 legislative session.