In 2005, the city of Madison bent its own rules to loan $700,000 to TomoTherapy, a medical technology company that wanted to expand. This amount was nearly three times what the city has given in the past from its Capital Revolving Fund.
Ald. Brenda Konkel voted against the loan at the time and is criticizing it again, especially now that TomoTherapy stands to raise $200 million in a public stock offering. This week, Isthmus asked the mayoral candidates about the efficacy and outcome of this loan.
Did the city make a mistake in helping a company that was arguably capable of raising its own capital for expansion?
We share some of Ald. Konkel's questions regarding city hall's loan to TomoTherapy from the Madison Capital Revolving Fund.
First, the current mayor needs to explain how this loan fits into the objectives of the Capital Revolving Fund. In particular, how does this loan help create jobs for unemployed and underemployed people?
This situation shows how the current mayor is still clueless when it comes to economic development. Economic development doesn't mean blindly giving taxpayer dollars to corporations. Economic development means creating an environment through partnerships with the business community that strengthen our workforce and that betters Madison's quality of life by raising everybody's standard of living.
As mayor, my immediate economic development focus will include:
- Fighting poverty, which is at 15% and increasing in Madison.
- Attracting quality jobs to Madison that will enable us to reduce the 10% unemployment rate in the African American and Latino communities, while the general population has an unemployment rate of about 3%.
- Focusing on the needs of small businesses.
- Creating an economic environment that working families can benefit from, which is why as mayor I will create a seat for organized labor on Madison's Economic Development Committee.
TomoTherapy manufactures cancer imagery and radiation delivery machines that are fast becoming the standard in oncology clinics around the world. Their remarkable product precisely targets the radiation in a way that protects non-cancerous tissues, thereby reducing painful side effects for patients while, at the same time, more effectively treating the cancer.
The city did the right thing in helping facilitate TomoTherapy's expansion by using the Capital Revolving Fund to loan TomoTherapy some of the funds it needed to expand here in Madison, at a site adjacent to their original facility. TomoTherapy's expansion will create many good paying jobs -- a central goal of the Capital Revolving Fund program -- and help broaden the city's tax base. And TomoTherapy will repay the loan to the city with interest.
Our loan came at a crucial time when the company could have left Madison. TomoTherapy is exactly the type of University of Wisconsin "spin-off" business that Madison wants to encourage and nurture.