Abele-O-Meter

Create fund to make loans and grants to start-up and expanding businesses


Will direct revenue from land and building sales "into a segregated fund to provide loans and grants to businesspeople eager to launch or expand ventures but are having trouble finding startup capital in the current tight credit market."


Sources:

Campaign website

Subjects: Jobs, Small Business

Updates:

Blocked by board in budget, no final fund created in months since

Updated: Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 | By Tom Kertscher

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele proposed in his 2012 county budget a revolving loan fund for business development.

The move would have gone part of the way toward keeping a campaign promise Abele made to create a fund that would give loans and grants to businesses.

Under his plan, up to $5 million from sales of county land would have been directed to the fund. But the plan ran into trouble during the budget process.

The County Board's budget committee in October 2011 voted instead to use money from the sale of county land, as well as private donations, to create a $1 million Ready to Work training program and a $1 million Economic Development Fund.

Abele vetoed that alternative, but the County Board voted to override his veto.

Under the action taken by the County Board, the money in the Economic Development Fund can be used for providing loans to small or minority-owned businesses. Abele"s former spokesman, Jeff Bentoff, told us in January 2012 that is Abele's hope. But nothing was definite, and other possible uses for the money include housing development, environmental cleanup and "economic development” in general, so we rated the promise Stalled at that time.

So, the County Board killed Abele's revolving loan proposal, although it did create a fund that could be used for loans. And Abele's current spokesman, Brendan Conway, told us in late March 2012 that there are no further developments.

It"s true Abele took steps to try to create the fund, but he didn't deliver on the promise. We rate this a Promise Broken.

Sources:

Email interview, Milwaukee County executive Brendan Conway, March 20, 2012

PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Board took proposal out of budget, no real progress since,” Jan. 13, 2012

Board took proposal out of budget, no real progress since

Updated: Friday, January 13th, 2012 | By Tom Kertscher

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele proposed in his 2012 county budget a revolving loan fund for business development.

The move would have gone part of the way toward keeping a campaign promise Abele made to create a fund that would give loans and grants to businesses.

Under his plan, up to $5 million from sales of county land would have been directed to the fund. But the plan ran into trouble during the budget process.

The County Board"s budget committee on Oct. 26, 2011 voted instead to use money from the sale of county land, as well as private donations, to create a $1 million Ready to Work training program and a $1 million Economic Development Fund.

Abele vetoed that alternative, but the County Board voted to override his veto.

Under the action taken by the County Board, the money in the Economic Development Fund can be used for providing loans to small or minority-owned businesses. Abele spokesman Jeff Bentoff said that is Abele's hope. But nothing is definite, and other possible uses for the money include housing development, environmental cleanup and "economic development” in general.

So, the County Board killed Abele's revolving loan proposal, although it did create a fund that could be used for loans. It seems unlikely that a loan program like the one Abele promised will be put in place before his one-year term ends in April 2012. But in the meantime, we'"ll rate this promise as Stalled.

Sources:

Milwaukee County Executive Budget 2012 Capital Improvements(page 59)

Milwaukee County Supervisor Eyon Biddle, December 2011 newsletter

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, 2012 budget vetoes (page 7), Nov. 14, 2011

Email interview, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele deputy chief of staff Jeff Bentoff, Jan. 4 and 12, 2012

Interview and email interview, Milwaukee County budget analyst Stephen Cady, Jan. 12, 2012

Proposal included in Abele's budget plan

Updated: Thursday, October 6th, 2011 | By Tom Kertscher

Providing cash to help launch or expand business ventures was one of the promises candidate Chris Abele made during his campaign for Milwaukee County executive.

With his 2012 budget proposal, introduced in September 2011, County Executive Abele has proposed a revolving loan fund.

The budget directs that up to $5 million from sales of county land be directed to the fund, which will be administered by the Milwaukee County Economic Development Corp.

The budget makes no mention of providing grants to businesses.

The County Board, which can make changes to Abele's spending plan, is scheduled to adopt its version of the 2012 budget on Nov. 7, 2011.

We rate this Abele promise as In the Works.

Sources:

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, 2012 budget

Interview and email interview, Milwaukee County Executive Deputy Chief of Staff Jeff Bentoff, Oct. 4 and 6, 2011

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