Legislature Begins Special Session on Jobs

Gov. Scott Walker issued a call for what he is calling the “Back to Work Wisconsin” special session. Citing his focus on job creation and the goal of creating 250,000 private sector jobs, Walker indicated that Wisconsin employers and workers want a “sense of certainty, ” which according to Walker, “is the main goal of this special session – create as much certainty as we can for employers and workers at the state level so that they can create jobs.”

The major items included in the special session include: access to capital; regulatory streamlining; workforce development; tax relief; transportation and infrastructure; and civil liability reforms.Below are a few of the specific bills that are slated to be included in the special session: 

  • AB 20 – allows refunds for the early stage seed and angel investment tax credits.
  • AB 90 – increases access to capital for small businesses by allowing them to use existing state tax credits up front as equity in financing packages.
  • AB 179 – allows for the creation of multi-jurisdictional TIF districts.
  • AB 294 increases the cap on small business loan guarantees by the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
  • AB 145 – authorizes the Public Service Commission to approve temporary utility rates to promote economic development.
  • Changes to the film production tax credit application fee.
  • A proposal relating to factors determining the reasonableness of attorney fees.
  • Four “tort reform” bills (see below for more discussion of the bills).
  • Several bills relating to Department of Transportation permitting for overweight vehicles, length of vehicles and three-combination vehicles.
  • Changes to wetland and habitat restoration.

The legislature is scheduled to meet this month in regular session beginning on October 8 and concluding November 3. Several proposals included in the special session are still in the drafting phase and must be formally introduced and heard before committees before being considered by either house. Gov. Walker has indicated he would like these bills passed by November.