Study says tax credit has spurred manufacturing job growth

MADISON (AP) - A study by a University of Wisconsin-Madison economics professor finds that a tax credit critics argue is too expensive has helped grow manufacturing jobs in the state.

The study by professor Noah Williams released Wednesday comes amid increasing debate about the cost benefit of the Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit.

The credit was passed in 2011 and became fully implemented this year. It is projected to cost more than $1.4 billion by mid-2019, far higher than originally expected.

Democrats in the Legislature and other critics have said the tax credit puts unneeded pressure on other cash-strapped parts of the budget, including education, health care and roads.

State Representative Gordon Hintz, (D) of Oshkosh, called the study "fake news" in an interview with NBC26 Wednesday.

"What we've seen in Wisconsin the last few years has been costly and ineffective. We've seen cutting for the UW system and K-12 schools, and I think you have to ask the question, 'what is the best use of our resources?'" Hintz said.

Hintz disputed the data in the study, and claimed federal data showed a net loss of manufacturing jobs across Northeast Wisconsin.

Williams' study concludes that since 2013 manufacturing employment has grown nearly 2 percentage points faster in Wisconsin compared with counties just across the state border.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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