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Bill aims to scale back tax breaks for companies with wellness programs


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A bill to give state income tax breaks to companies with wellness programs has been scaled back, so only small businesses would get the credits.

Senate Republican Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls said many people thought the tax breaks were too much. So he reduced the total amount from $5 million to $3 million. And companies with fewer than 50 employees would be the only ones that could apply.

Critics say big companies don’t need the government’s help, because wellness programs are growing rapidly in those firms.

The Wisconsin Public Health Association supports the bill.

Green Lake County public health officer Kathy Munsey says that if healthy environments are created in the workplace, it will be easier for people to make healthy lifestyle choices.

But that might not necessarily be true. Research published by the American Heart Association shows that employees who need wellness programs the most often don’t use them – and participation rates are low as a result.

But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says they still save money.

For every dollar an employer puts into a wellness program, the CDC says $3 to $7 are saved on worker health costs and reduced absenteeism.