In 1998, Wisconsin established its own Certified Capital Companies (CAPCO) program:
On April 28, 1998, Wisconsin added a new tool to its economic development program when it enacted legislation authorizing tax incentives for investments in Certified Capital Companies (CAPCOs). CAPCOs, organizations whose primary business activity is investing in “qualified businesses,” have been used in a handful of other states as a method of promoting venture capital investment within the state. With the enactment of 1997 Wisconsin Act 215 (the Act), Wisconsin joined Louisiana, Missouri, and New York in offering premium tax credits to insurance companies that make a certified capital investment in a CAPCO. Florida joined the group shortly after Wisconsin by passing its own CAPCO legislation on May 28, 1998, and CAPCO legislation has been introduced in both houses of the Illinois Legislature.
This article reviews the development and operation of these CAPCO programs and the enabling legislation in Wisconsin, exploring the roles of the CAPCO investment vehicles, the qualified businesses that will receive the venture capital funds, and the insurance company investors. The article also focuses on how attorneys can help their clients in any of these three categories take advantage of Wisconsin’s new CAPCO program.
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