Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Should lawmakers pass venture capital bill?

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Greg Peck
June 17, 2013

The Assembly is expected to take up the state budget Tuesday, and moderate Republicans might make a pitch for major changes. That debate will overshadow expected approval in the Senate of a venture capital bill. The budget earmarks $25 million for venture funding.

The Senate venture bill, co-authored by Sens. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, and Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, would require twice as much private as public funding. The Cullen-Darling proposal doesn’t enthrall everyone. Citizen Action of Wisconsin, which bills itself as a statewide organization working to expand economic opportunity, panned it for lacking assurances that it would create family-supporting jobs and deemed it “just another corporate giveaway.”

Cullen disputes such criticism.

The Assembly passed a venture capital bill earlier this month. It would focus on agriculture, information technology, engineering, advanced manufacturing and medical devices. It would exclude life sciences because conservatives don’t want to fund biotechnology companies that use embryonic stem cells.

Does venture capital legislation deserve passage? We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Tuesday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook

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