Members of CARW Board and Policy Committee had the opportunity to meet with Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan. Joel, a long-time member of the Milwaukee community, now leads the efforts of the DOA in Madison – the department responsible for state-wide IT solutions, gaming, and managing the state building program (there are 6,700 State buildings) among other duties. We were able to discuss the administration’s priorities for the 2019-21 biennium including areas of that present challenges as well as opportunities.
Among the areas discussed, are those of great importance to commercial real estate including but not limited to;
- Building communities through sustainable and equitable funding. The group discussed the proposed alternatives including the wheel-tax, evaluation of the shared revenue model, changes to the current levy-limits and sales-tax for municipalities;
- Education as a focus for thriving neighborhoods and a prosperous State;
- Transportation and infrastructure funding options as proposed in the budget including the importance of funding the Marquette and Zoo Interchange projects as well as reducing the State’s reliance on bonding for roads;
- Property taxes – not only the State’s over-reliance on the property tax, but the fact that Wisconsin property tax relative to other State’s puts Wisconsin at a competitive disadvantage when pitching to businesses for relocation / expansion.
- Business attraction and the future of WEDC – during the session, members expressed great interest in working with the State to ensure new companies looking to expand and relocate had a visible point of contact for questions, incentives and resources. They also expressed great satisfaction with the work done by WEDC (Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation);
- Milwaukee-specific projects that benefit the entire State including the Wisconsin Center expansion. While located in Milwaukee, the Center attracts corporate and tourism dollars;
- Local economic development tools including TIF – the group discussed current budget proposal that would limit the percentage of tax incremental district project costs that may be allocated for developer grants to 20 percent of the total project cost. Members were able to provide perspective and considerations for future dialogue around TIF and economic development tools including the impact of new federal tax laws and TIF;
Striving to be a resource for the administration, there were obvious opportunities. In addition to the issues germane to the commercial real estate industry, Secretary Brennan spent time discussing proposed changes to health care and Medicaid expansion as well as how he sees the budget process playing out in Madison. As a resource for the organization, the Secretary asked that we stay connected on issues and opportunities.
If you have questions about this session or others, please contact the association office. If you’re interested in joining us for Commercial Real Estate Government Day, please click HERE.