$25 Million Approved for WEDC Tax Credits


The Wisconsin legislature’s budget committee has OK’d $25 million in tax incentives for the state’s public-private economic development agency.

The money will be spent on tax credits that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, or WEDC, can use to lure or retain companies to Wisconsin. It was set aside in the state budget but needed final approval by the Joint Finance Committee.

WEDC CEO Paul Jadin said his agency would likely use the money quickly and could need more soon: “We probably will get to the exhaustion, even of the $25 million, by the end of this year. And I think we could use another $25 million very easily by the end of the fiscal year.”

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With the Joint Finance Committee now split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, and with WEDC in the news recently for mishandling an economic incentive package, there was a chance this meeting could have been more combative. Instead, the committee roundly praised Jadin and approved the money unanimously.

But Racine Democrat Corey Mason cautioned that the agency does not exist in a vacuum. If it asks for more funding in the future, Mason said he’d need to weigh whether it would be smarter to investing in tech school job training or other economic programs. “There are other very compelling investments that we need to consider and even have a good assessment in terms of what their return on investment would be economically.”

While the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is brand new, the incentive money approved today has been around. The now-defunct Department of Commerce used a similar program under Democrat Jim Doyle’s administration.