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Call on legislature to support a win-win tax credit for small businesses

State lawmakers should move quickly to include a proposal aimed at helping small businesses help themselves through advertising tax credits as part of the biennial budget.

Wisconsinishometomorethan130,000 small businesses which employ one or more people. They are the businesses that keep downtown areas vibrant, support community events, sponsor youth sports and provide employment opportunities for people of all ages and across the demographic spectrum.

Wisconsin’s small business have been put through the wringer in recent years with COVID, supply chain issues, labor shortages and spikes in inflation. A new Republican-backed proposal seeks to provide small businesses relief through tax credits for advertising expenses.

This proposal is being championed by State Representative Todd Novak of Dodgeville with the idea enjoying bipartisan support.

The bill creates an income and franchise tax credit for small businesses that purchase advertising in local media outlets. This includes newspapers, a broadcast radio or television station that is licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to serve a local community in Wisconsin, or a Wisconsin-based Internet site that is meant to inform users of news and events in a local community in the state.

Under the proposal , the credit equals 25% of the advertising expenditures, limited to a maximum credit of $2,500. Keeping with its focus on providing help to small businesses as intensely local economic drivers, the credit could be claimed only by businesses with fewer than 100 full-time employees and less than $10,000,000 in gross receipts.

The proposal would put a 5-year limit on the tax credit program from December 31, 2022 to January 1, 2028.

Main street businesses in all sectors and all parts of Wisconsin have faced challenges on a level never seen before. Local media outlets, most of which are small businesses themselves, are dealing with the same obstacles. Community focused, family run businesses, including newspapers, are in the same position as many retailers, hospitality businesses and small manufacturers are in trying to keep their businesses stable under difficult circumstances.

The advertising incentive creates a win-win scenario for small businesses that want to advertise and for local media. Similar legislation was proposed during the last legislative session and garnered bipartisan support among legislators and trade associations representing broadcasters, chiropractors, dentists, grocers, independent businesses, petroleum marketers, convenience stores, restaurants, taverns and newspapers.

Call on Rep. James Edming and Sen. Cory Tomczyk to support this proposal and to encourage members of the Joint Finance Committee to show support for the state’s small businesses.

Advertising works. Making it easier for small businesses to make an investment in effective advertising campaigns will help boost Wisconsin’s small businesses and rural communities and will provide an economic benefit that will ripple through the state’s economy, increasing economic resiliency on Main Streets across the state.