By Tom Larson
In September, the Wisconsin State Senate approved 7 of the 8 bills that seek to modernize Wisconsin’s tax increment finance (TIF) law. The bills were introduced by the Joint Legislative Council study committee on TIF in late February as part of package of 8 separate bills (TIF Modernization Package) designed to make TIF a more effective and flexible economic development tool.
To date, all 7 of the have passed the Senate with unanimous support from both Republicans and Democrats. Only 1 bill (SB 55) from the package has not yet passed the Senate, but will hopefully be taken up by the Senate in January.
In October, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee approved 5 of the 8 bills that are part of the TIF Modernization Package (AB 131, AB 132, AB 133, AB 135, AB 136). Of the 5 bills that passed the Assembly committee, only one bill (Assembly Bill 135) passed without receiving unanimous support. The three remaining bills will hopefully have a public hearing and be voted out of committee in the weeks ahead, and the WRA is working closely with legislative leaders in the Assembly to get all 8 bills to the floor for a vote in January or February. Passage of the TIF Modernization Package is one of WRA/CARW’s top legislative priorities for the 2015-2016 legislative session.
The following is a description of the 8 bills that comprise the TIF Modernization Package:
- Senate Bill 50 (companion bill to Assembly Bill 131) – Makes several technical changes to the law regarding public notice requirements, time limits for joint review board actions, and maintaining the industrial zoning classification for only industrial TIDs.
- Senate Bill 51 (companion bill to Assembly Bill 132) – Makes modifications to the functions of Joint Review Boards.
- Senate Bill 52 (companion bill to Assembly Bill 133) – Allows for greater flexibility related to revenue sharing between districts within a jurisdiction and between overlapping taxing jurisdictions.
- Senate Bill 53 (companion bill to Assembly Bill 134) – Allows local governments to mitigate the negative impacts to TID cash flows caused by legislative and administrative actions.
- Senate Bill 54 (companion bill to Assembly Bill 135) – Provides local communities with greater flexibility as to the composition of a TID by eliminating the 25% vacant land test.
- Senate Bill 55 (companion bill to Assembly Bill 136) – Increases the limit on the total amount of taxable property permitted within a community’s TIDs from 12% to 15%.
- Senate Bill 56 (companion bill to Assembly Bill 137) – Extends the sunset date for declaring a TID distressed or severely distressed from 1/1/2015 to 1/1/2020.
- Senate Bill 57 (companion bill to Assembly Bill 138)– Provides the Joint Review Board with greater flexibility Allows for greater flexibility related to re-determining the base value of a TID when the base value has fallen at least 10% for two consecutive years.