Governor Doyle's 2005-07 state budget increases the amount of multi-million dollar grants, cheap loans and tax breaks the state can give to big business and wealthy contributors, the Democracy Campaign has found.
Doyle used his veto pen to increase the number of geographic areas - from 81 to 98 - that the state's Enterprise Development Zones program can create to hand out its $243 million in tax credits to business. This and other Commerce Department programs were created to help small- and medium-sized businesses locate in areas of high poverty or unemployment. The problem is millions of dollars in tax breaks, grants and cheap loans have gone to Fortune 500 companies like Wal-Mart, Home DePot, General Motors and others to build or expand headquarters in affluent burbs, like Brookfield, Menomonee Falls and Mequon. For more details see the Democracy Campaign's "Serving the Have-Mores" report.
Doyle also vetoed a provision added by the Legislature to require the Enterprise Development Zones program and the Wisconsin Development Fund to make at least 50 percent of their awards to small businesses. "In order to continue to grow Wisconsin's economy, the department must retain its flexibility to fund deserving businesses that will have a significant impact on local economies throughout the state," he said.
Increasing the number of zones dilutes the benefits available to businesses that really deserve the help and vetoing the small business requirement lets his administration continue to award as much corporate welfare to big business and wealthy contributors as it wants.
By the way, Doyle has received $4.26 million in campaign contributions since 1993 from business, manufacturers, insurance and other wealthy special interests that benefit from these programs, including $3.31 million, or 78 percent, since 2002 when he successfully ran for governor through 2004.