The Legislature Tuesday approved the "Green to Gold" legislation authored by Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, to create a $100 million revolving loan fund for industries to lower their energy costs, make products that support the "green" economy and create jobs.
The state Senate passed the Senate version of SB 651, introduced by Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, early on Tuesday, and the state Assembly then passed that same bill Tuesday evening. The House vote was 78-20; all the no votes came from Republicans, including Rep. Robin Vos. The bill now moves to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
“This bill’s passage is a huge win for Wisconsin’s manufacturers,” said Rep. Mason. “These businesses want to invest in making their facilities more energy efficient. They want to be leaders in the clean energy economy. But the reality is they can’t just take the capital they use to run their plants and use it for something else, and financing is tight these days. The Green to Gold fund meets this need and gives Wisconsin’s manufacturers the tools they need to jumpstart their efforts.”
The Green to Gold fund streamlines state resources and federal dollars. The fund will provide manufacturers with low-interest loans from a revolving loan fund, so payments can be used to issue new loans. Companies eligible for the loans include those that will implement energy efficiency or renewable energy measures to improve competitiveness, retool existing facilities to manufacture products that support the green economy, expand or establish clean energy manufacturing operations; and create or retain jobs in any of the above activities.
“The Green to Gold gives us a powerful tool to help our state’s manufacturers compete in the global economy," Mason said. "These businesses will be able to reduce their energy costs and put people back to work in the process. I’m excited to help Racine’s businesses access this new fund.”
Mason has said the $100 million loan fund will be funded by existing federal stimulus funds and state money.
In other action:
Mason's "green cleaning bill" was tabled.
A bill to legalize medical marijuana won't get a vote.
The Assembly voted to regulate payday loans -- but no interest rate cap -- and sent the bill back to the Senate.
Legislator Jeffrey Wood was censured, but not expelled, for his multiple OWI convictions.