MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAU) - The 69th district assembly race is heating up over the issue of public-private partnerships. Following a Tea Party forum in Marshfield last Tuesday where the topic first surfaced, candidate Scott Kenneth Noble is calling on one of his opponents, Bob Kulp, to return a $50,000 Marathon County Economic Development Corporation loan that was used for a green-energy construction project in Stratford. At the forum on Tuesday Noble said that the low-interest loans are really corporate welfare. According to Noble, “When we talk about crony-capitalism, corporate welfare, public-private partnerships, we’re not talking about a true free market system. I don’t want to pick winners or losers, so I won’t support anything that takes money out of your pockets and gives it to anything that says we’re going to create jobs. We all want to create jobs, don’t we?” Kulp defended the loan, saying he hadn’t thought of it as a public-private partnership, and that it’s no different than the tax credits most businessmen take. Kulp said, “We put in a compressed natural gas station, did a MCDEVCO (loan), didn’t really think about it being a subsidy. But it’s a 2% $50,000 issue, and we did it. I’m really re-thinking all of this because I never considered the fact of public-private partnership.” The other two candidates at the forum were also divided on the issue. Alana Feddick opposed them saying, “Cutting out those public-private partnerships is vital to our success as a nation,” while Tom Dahlen was for the loans since they help to create jobs. The four Republicans will face off in an October 22nd primary. No Democrats have announced a run for the seat as of yet, but the general election is set for Nov. 19th.
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