Wisconsin’s tax incentives in limbo

Despite the fact that the Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted unanimously to keep tax credits for the film and video game industries in the budget, the state of the incentives are in limbo.

“Given Wisconsin’s acute budget deficit, there is really no way of knowing what will happen by July 1,” is the feeling of Film Wisconsin executive director Scott Robbe.

The final motion, sponsored by Rep. Tamara Grigsby and other legislators on both sides of he aisle, passed 16-0 earlier this month.

“This signals the will of the people who want to keep the tax incentives,” said Robbe, noting that meetings on the subject throughout the state were universally positive.

However, said Robbe, “I feel it’s going to be a fight in the legislature to maintain [the Grigsby motion] as state is in extremely terrible financial shape, with a budget deficit of around $8.1 billion as the governor could veto the bill when it gets to his desk. ”

Discussions are in progress as to what to keep in the bill and what goes, “so the story is not over yet,” said Robbe.

The budget has to pass both houses and be signed by the governor, who could partially veto items he doesn’t like. The Dept. of Revenue would then rewrite rules based on the new law. The exact details won’t be available for a few months.

Until July then, Wisconsin’a business is at a standstill. “I have no idea what I can promise anyone until the deal is done,” Robbe said.