By Tom Larson
Last week, the Wisconsin Senate unanimously passed four bills that will make significant improvements to the tax increment financing (TIF) laws. The bills are part of a TIF Modernization Package that was created by the TIF Legislative Council Study Committee which was comprised of state legislators and local economic development experts (including several NAIOP-WI members). The bills include:
- Senate Bill 50 which would make a number of technical changes to Wisconsin’s TIF Law such as (a) specifying that the requirement to maintain industrial zoning applies only to Industrial TIDs, and not to Mixed Use TIDs, and (b) excluding the value of any TID increments from the levy limits upon closure of a TID.
- Senate Bill 51, which would require a standing Joint Review Board to be established in order for a TID to be created and remain in existence during the lifespan of the TID. In addition, this bill modifies annual reporting requirements, incorporates penalties for not reporting annually and repeals the DOR process to review industry-specific town TIDs.
- Senate Bill 52, which would allow any type of TID to be an eligible recipient of revenue and would allow revenue sharing between TIDs with different overlapping taxing jurisdictions.
- Senate Bill 54, which would eliminate the limits on vacant land (currently 25% of the total area) that can be included in TID located in a light or rehab district. In addition, the bill would eliminate the need to have the local assessor assign a base value to tax exempt municipally owned property targeted for redevelopment.
With respect to the four remaining bills in the TIF Modernization Package, two bills — Senate Bill 56 (which extends sunset for designating distressed TIDs from October 1, 2015 to October 1, 2020) and Senate Bill 57 (which provides Joint Review Boards more flexibility in re determining base values under certain circumstances) — have passed the Senate Economic Development and Commerce Committee with unanimous support and are ready to be scheduled for a Senate floor vote, while the last two bills — Senate Bill 53 (which provides municipalities with more flexibility when cash flows are negatively impacted by state legislation or administrative decisions) and Senate Bill 55 (which increases 12% limit on amount of taxable land that can be included within a TID to 15%) — have had a public hearing and are ready to be voted on by the Senate Economic Development and Commerce Committee in the next several weeks. If and when the bills are passed by the Senate, they will be considered by the Assembly during the upcoming fall floor period, which begins in September.
The TIF Modernization Package is one of NAIOP-WI’s top legislative priorities and we will continue to work with lawmakers in both houses to enact these bills into law in the upcoming months.