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InSinkErator: The Racine-based garbage disposal and water dispenser manufacturer announces plans to upgrade its Racine manufacturing center and expand to a new facility in Kenosha — a total investment of $65 million that’s expected to add 165 jobs to its existing workforce of 1,000. Company officials say the Kenosha facility is expected to be operational by the middle of next year, combining with the $43.7 million in Racine upgrades to meet increasing demand. The company is eligible for up to $15.5 million in Enterprise Zone tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. through 2018, depending on the number of jobs created and retained, the amount of capital investment and the amount of in-state supply chain purchases.
Stadium taxes: The end appears to be in sight for one of the state’s stadium tax surcharges. But another isn’t going anywhere soon as debate over a new Bucks arena in Milwaukee ramps up. The head of the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District tells a Brown County panel the 0.5 percent sales tax surcharge used to fund Lambeau Field renovations more than 10 years ago is set to expire by the end of 2015 at the latest. The nearing conclusion of that tax, however, likely hasn’t swayed critics of similar proposals in the Milwaukee area. For one, the Packers’ proposal was approved in a local referendum — as opposed to the bruising legislative fight that preceded the deal to build Miller Park in Milwaukee. For another, despite strong collections in April, the 0.1 percent Miller Park sales tax surcharge isn’t projected to pay off that stadium’s cost until 2021. Memories of the Milwaukee Brewers stadium fight have also hovered over calls for a new downtown arena. The NBA officially approves the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks, but the continued ownership of Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens is contingent upon replacing the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Despite a healthy contribution from the new owners and now-ex owner Herb Kohl, observers say some form of public funding will still be needed — and local officials already appear dug in. Milwaukee leaders say a regional attraction should have regional contributions. But several suburban counties are already on record opposing taxes for a project they believe stands only to benefit the city.
Home sales: Sales of existing homes in the state fell in April even as median prices continued to rise, according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association. The latest monthly WRA report says home sales declined 11.6 percent in April compared to the same month last year due to a combination of higher home mortgage rates, higher prices and cold weather. Median prices rose over that same period, increasing 1.4 percent to $139,900. WRA officials say they had expected some improvement at the outset of the second quarter, but caution that the typical six- to eight-week lag between accepted offers and closings means brutal February weather was still impacting the market last month.