Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Does venture capital bill merit support?

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Greg Peck
Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lately, minority Democrats have taken potshots at Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans for Wisconsin’s woeful job-creation numbers.

Walker pledged to create 250,000 jobs during his first term. The state is falling far short of that. In a column The Gazette printed April 24, freshman Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville, complained that lawmakers have yet to take up “a real jobs bill. We have the slowest-growing economy in the Midwest, and we are near the bottom of the 50 states in job growth and wages.”

Of Republican lawmakers, Kolste wrote, “the legislative majority has lost its way.”

Do you agree?

Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, has co-authored bipartisan venture capital legislation. The authors unveiled it this week, and Cullen calls it “one of the most important economic development bills we can pass.”

It would create a program for $25 million in funding that Walker put in his budget and require twice as much money from private sources. Cullen notes that the nonpartisan State of Wisconsin Investment Board would play a key role in selecting the fund manager. That’s crucial to keeping politicians from meddling in investment decisions.

Yet some lawmakers might be hesitant to support it after the Legislative Audit Bureau issued a blistering new report on Walker’s Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The bureau claims the 2-year-old agency repeatedly broke state law in its first year, failed to adequately track money it gave to developers and sometimes helped ineligible recipients.

Given this poor track record, are you confident that venture capital legislation will adequately protect taxpayers and that it deserves passage?

We’ll share our perspectives in our editorial Friday.

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

Last updated: 9:20 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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

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