The CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), or as I like to refer to it, The Scott Walker Campaign Donation Reimbursement Center and Corporate Welfare Department, posted a column today explaining his desire to hand out taxpayer money to unproven start-up companies that are so ill-conceived they can’t get money from private sector venture capitalists.
There must be something wrong with me, because when I read Paul Jadin’s words:
“Non-refundable tax credits are by far the most used investment tool by WEDC. However, even when credits are refundable (i.e., paid irrespective of tax liability), as they are under our broadly popular Enterprise Zone Program, they still are not a good fit for start-up companies,”
…I can’t help but hear this:
Even though we hand out free cash and call it a tax credit despite the fact that the company might actually owe no state taxes, that’s not good enough because the company has to have actually done some business first and created a few jobs.
When Jadin continues:
“We need to think broader rather than just concentrate on a strict venture capital-level strategy. We need a structure that includes angel co-investments at the seed capital level; supports new and emerging early and mid-stage companies; supports expansion capital for when companies have proven their products, markets and management and have begun ramping-up manufacturing and shipping goods to customers,”
…only a cynic would translate it as:
Scott Walker’s campaign contributors need to recoup their campaign donations faster and more consistently. They can’t wait until tax-filing season. We need to pay out immediately and often, with no bureaucratic red tape like requiring that a “business venture” prove its viability. We need to be there with suitcases full of cash on Day 1 to thank these job creators even before they create Job 1, and every day thereafter to make sure they have every taxpayer dollar they need to ease the harsh competition in the free market, if they make it that far.
When Mr. Jadin adds:
“There is a tremendous amount of new business activity going on in Wisconsin that doesn’t fit into the traditional venture capital financing mold,”
…only the most distrusting soul who hates capitalism would hear:
When banks, Wall Street investors, and professional venture capitalists have declined to invest in a company because they feel it’s unlikely to make money, Wisconsin should step in with taxpayer money that would otherwise be wasted on roads, bridges, schools, health care, rape victims’ services, and veterans benefits. I mean, who needs that crap, right?
And when, in conclusion, Jadin says:
“WEDC is working with the Legislature and others to develop and implement programs to get capital into businesses that will grow and prosper in Wisconsin. Thirty states already have capital investment programs because they realize that new businesses are the foundation for new jobs. Wisconsin needs a similar program tailored to our state’s specific needs and resources and dedicated to keeping our best and brightest talent and business growth opportunities within its borders,”
…only an America-hating conspiracy theorist would think he’s really saying this:
ALEC has already written legislation that our corporate masters have managed to hoodwink 30 other states into adopting. Pretty good, huh? We can just change a comma here or there, find a stooge in the legislature to introduce it, and name it something with “Wisconsin” in the title. Those dumb Wisconsin taxpayers won’t even notice.