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Assembly committee approves $25M for venture capital fund


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A state Assembly committee endorsed a bill Friday that provides $25-million to help new businesses get started.

It almost got swallowed up in the controversy over the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, as the Assembly Jobs panel added an amendment that could delay a vote by the full Assembly scheduled for Tuesday.

The Democratic amendment would require the WEDC to adopt procurement policies before it could hire a fund manager to handle the venture capital.

The $25-million in state funds would be added to $50-million dollars in private funds, to provide venture capital to help a variety of small and high-tech firms get off the ground.

Some Democrats said the state should not trust the Development Corporation to hire the fund manager, after the recent audit which showed that the agency failed to adopt required policies, and did not properly allocate or monitor tax funds for businesses to create jobs.

The author of the bill, New Berlin Republican Mike Kuglitsch, said the Democrats’ concerns are nothing but political.

The bill was advanced on an 8-to-6 vote, with most Republicans voting yes and most Democrats voted no, but two members crossed their party lines.

Sauk City Democrat Fred Clark supported the venture capital, and De Pere Republican Andre Jacque voted no.