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New budget deficit could cost funding for business start-ups


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The newly-discovered state budget deficit might have killed one of the Republicans' top priorities for this year -- state funding for start-up businesses.

Senate Republican Alberta Darling of River Hills has been trying to get her colleagues to support a major venture capital package.

But now, she says the money is probably not available, after state officials learned last week that the current budget is $143 million in the hole.

The Wisconsin State Journal said the measure got bogged down in a long debate over how much state funding should be provided. Also, Assembly Republicans had talked about getting certified capital companies involved -- which raised opposition due to a lack of accountability in state dollars given to the so-called CAPCOs in a similar effort a decade ago.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald recently said his party agreed to proceed without CAPCOs. But Governor Scott Walker's office said the new deficit would make it hard for a bill to be adopted -- even though Walker fully supports venture capital opportunities.

Senate Democrat Julie Lassa of Stevens Point also favored state involvement in venture capital, and she said the deficit was a "convenient excuse" for Republicans to scrap it.