The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley has a story on four Republican legislators who will benefit if state taxes are not collected from businesses that received a federal Covid-19 relief loan. Oh, wait, now it’s six, including Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI2) in the updated story, who have benefitted from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
At least six legislators or their families have an ownership stake in businesses that received PPP loans, records show.
Among them are Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester and Republican Sen. Joan Ballweg of Markesan, who voted as a member of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted in favor of the tax cut on Wednesday.
The state tax cut could also help Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan of rural Dane County, who received a loan for his sign shop last year.
Pocan, as the updated Journal Sentinel story reported, voted for the PPP program as a congressman. He has as much of a possible conflict of interest as Vos, but the Assembly Speaker is the one stuck in the headline as the result of the first version of the story. (Note: reporters usually are not responsible for the headlines.)
The Journal Sentinel updated the story after being contacted by RightWisconsin.
“I was not aware of the PPP loan for Pocan. Thanks for alerting me to it,” Marley wrote in an email to RightWisconsin. “I’ve come across a couple of others since my story first posted and I’ve updated it to reflect the additional officials. If I discover others, I’ll report on them as well.”
Pocan received a $44,500 forgivable from the federal program to retain the four employees on his printing business’ payroll. The loan is completely forgiven provided the employees retain their positions.
Wisconsin Republican legislators are changing the tax status of the Covid-19 business loans to match the tax-free status of the program at the federal level.