Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tax breaks for the rich balanced against investment for Wisconsin.

Hi folks,

Just a moment of "hmmmmmmmmmmm."

John Torinus' op-ed piece in the Journal for Sunday Dec 9th 2006 urges increased availability of Wisconsin Act 255 tax credits for start up corporations in Wisconsin.

He was specifically put off by the failure of a mutual friend of our's, Charlie Hillman, to secure the 255 tax credits. Charlies had the brilliant idea to create a system that would allow remote health monitoring for seniors. Routed over the internet, the system would allow them to stay in their own homes rather than move into a managed care facility -- it would, in effect, bring a managed care environment into their homes over the internet.

Two years ago, Charlie Hillman struck out when he applied for Wisconsin Act 255 tax credits for his start-up business.

Only $6.5 million of the credits were available in the first year of the program, which gives a 25% tax break to angel investments. Hillman drew the short straw.

He goes on to detail Charlie's rather excellent credentials and to note, quite properly, that the Hillman's GrandCare Systems should have been a frontrunner for these tax breaks.

I cannot disagree with any of this, but a cautionary flag went up in the back of my head.

In these days when the previous state legislature couldn't find a program for middle class Wisconsinites they didn't want to cut, I'm uneasy about one of my relatively wealthy acquaintences complains in the Journal about another relatively rich acquaintance not being given a 25% tax break.

I fully understand the need for government tax breaks for technically sophisticated start ups, especially given the accelerating die off in manufacturing jobs in Wiscsonsin, but this makes me edgy, Ceasar's wife being what she is.