MADISON (PRESS RELEASE)--The 18 provisions in the C.O.R.E. Jobs Act include increases in the Accelerate Wisconsin tax credits for investment in new and existing tech businesses, increased funding for the Wisconsin Development Fund, support for research partnerships between businesses and research institutions, a regulatory assistance office to help businesses navigate state permitting requirements, incentives to help companies retool for green energy production or manufacturing, and help for workers retraining for new careers.
"Passage of the C.O.R.E. Jobs Act represents months of work on the most comprehensive economic development package proposed by the legislature within the last few years," Lassa said. "I urge the Governor to quickly sign this bill into law so that it can aid Wisconsin businesses in creating good-paying jobs for our workers and speed the recovery of the state's economy."
Career Conversations will provide students in grades 7 through 12 with the opportunity to interact via webcams with individuals working in high wage/high demand jobs in Wisconsin. This program will help students learn about in-demand careers as well as what education or skills training potential employees need to perform these jobs.
"Career Conversations is a simple way to better inform students, teachers, and parents about jobs and careers that have a promising future in our state by allowing them to interact with people who are already employed in that sector," Lassa said. "It will also help Wisconsin businesses interact with the state's future workforce."
The Green to Gold Fund will create a $100 million revolving loan fund that will enable Wisconsin industries to achieve energy efficiency, use renewable energy, and make products that support a green economy. The bill authorizes the Department of Commerce to make loans to manufacturing businesses to adopt energy efficiency measures, retool to manufacture green products, expand or establish domestic clean energy manufacturing, and create or retain jobs in this sector. Commerce will use existing state resources to leverage federal dollars to create the fund. The provision gives priority to existing manufacturing businesses and idle manufacturing facilities.
"Companies want to upgrade for energy efficiency and create new products and services to meet the growing demand for green energy technologies, but they're having trouble finding the capital to invest in the upgrades and improvements they need," Lassa said. "The Green to Gold Fund will help position Wisconsin for a stronger, more robust economic recovery, create good new jobs, and continue Wisconsin's emergence as a leader in the green energy economy."
The Food Processing Modernization Tax Credit would provide a refundable tax credit to help Wisconsin food processors and distributors modernize and expand. According to the Status of Wisconsin Agriculture report for 2010, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois remain the nation's largest concentrated producers of canned and frozen vegetables. The report also indicated that Wisconsin currently ranks second nationally in production of vegetables for processing (excluding tomatoes).
"This credit will help grow and expand an industry that is crucial to the economy of Central Wisconsin and the entire state," Lassa said. "We've seen how similar targeted tax credits have helped ignite economic activity in the technology sector, and I'm confident this credit will have the same impact on food processing."
The Food Processing Modernization Tax Credit bill was amended by the Senate, and must now go to the Assembly for concurrence. An Assembly version of the Green to Gold Bill was scheduled to be taken up by that body today; it is possible that both measures could receive final approval today.
The Wisconsin C.O.R.E. Jobs Act received its final vote in the Wisconsin Legislature today and is on its way to the governor for his signature. It was one of four bills authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point) to advance in the State Senate today; the Career Conversations bill also received final passage, and versions of the Green to Gold Fund bill and a tax credit for food processing manufacturers were approved and sent to the Assembly for concurrence.