Gov. Walker: Signs additional Special Session legislation

November 16, 2011
For Immediate Release
Contact: Cullen Werwie, 608-267-7303

Madison—Today Governor Walker signed additional jobs legislation that he called for in the Special Session. The Governor signed SS SB3, relating to film tax credits, SS SB 23 which helps reform the Department of Revenue, and SS SB 14 relating to interest rates on judgments.

“We continue to improve our jobs environment with these bills,” said Governor Walker. “Our administration remains focused on encouraging job creation and better serving the taxpayers. I want to thank Senators Schultz and Zipperer and Representatives Marklein, Strachota, and Farrow for their work in advancing these measures.”

SS SB3 makes it easier for small businesses in the creative economy to tap into the $500,000 film tax credit program. The legislation reduces the application fees for the film tax credit program administered by the Department of Tourism. The film tax credit program is available to qualifying film, television, advertising/commercial and video gaming projects.

“The feedback we received from the state’s film industry showed that the application fees in the original film tax credit program were cost-prohibitive,” Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett said. “Lowering the threshold created by steep application fees allows smaller budget film projects to have access to the program and meet our objective to grow the state’s creative economy and small businesses.”

The up-front application fee was previously set at 2% of the budgeted production expenditures or $5,000, whichever was less. The new legislation now sets these fees to either 2% of the production budget or $500, whichever is less. As an example, a film production with a $100,000 budget would have to pay a $2,000 application fee under the old fee structure. Now, the fee would be capped at $500.

“We thank Governor Walker and the state’s legislature for recognizing the need to improve the fee structure for this program in order to provide a more affordable point of entry for small businesses to participate,” said Film Wisconsin Executive Director Janine Sijan Rozina. “This has been a consistent point of concern since the program first launched in 2008.”

SS SB23, the DOR Procedures Reform law will improve communication with taxpayers, promote consistent tax policies and strengthen protections for taxpayer confidentiality.

This new law improves the ability of taxpayers to obtain written guidance from DOR that is consistent, authoritative, and universally available. Taxpayers are also assured that they can rely on DOR published guidance unless an official action is taken to change or retract that guidance.

The law moves the burden of proof for negligence penalties assessed by DOR from the taxpayer to DOR. The standard to assess a penalty remains willful neglect by the taxpayer and not errors that resulted from reasonable cause.

By enhancing DOR’s existing anti-browsing prohibitions, this new law will strengthen privacy protections for taxpayers, giving taxpayers greater confidence that their confidential information in all tax types is not being misused.

“This new law advances the goal of good customer service for Wisconsin taxpayers,” said Rick Chandler, Secretary of the Department of Revenue.

SS SB 14 caps the interest accrued on a judgment involving the recovery of money at an annual rate of 1% plus the prime rate in effect on the day of the judgment as reported by the Federal Reserve Board.