THU AM News: Report highlights impacts of TIF investments; State business groups backing national legislation benefiting startups

— A new report on the state’s tax incremental financing program finds more than $4 of new tax base is created for every $1 invested in a Wisconsin TIF district. 

The report was created by the Wisconsin Realtors Association and the state chapter of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association to highlight the program. The groups argue that “enhancing the flexibility” of the state’s TIF statute will make Wisconsin more competitive for talent and investment.  

“In order to attract development and jobs to Wisconsin, we must continue to provide the kind of investment opportunities that other states simply do not have,” said Tom Larson, WRA’s senior vice president of legal and public affairs. “This report shows that our state is in a unique position to be a haven for economic development if the proper tools are in place.”

TIF helps cover economic development costs in a designated tax increment district using the increased property tax revenue associated with higher property values — or tax increment — within the district. Smaller cities and villages in the state tend to use TIF more, though Milwaukee has significantly upped its use of the funding tool over the past two decades. 

Wisconsin’s TIF program was created in 1975 with a goal of funding improvements on blighted land but has since been used more widely as an economic development tool. Supporters say it enables greater economic growth by incentivizing developers and municipalities to work together on projects, while others claim it’s grown well beyond its original intent. 

One notable critic is Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, a realtor who has bashed the program, questioning why taxpayers should help pay for new real estate development. 

“While some detractors are attempting to limit the benefits that this tool gives our state, the report clearly shows the dramatic economic impact TIF makes in our communities,” said Jim Villa, CEO of the state’s NAIOP chapter. 

The report shows the return on investment for TIF districts in the state was 427 percent between 2009 and 2016. ROI for TIF districts fluctuated during those years from a high of 873 percent in 2010, to a low of 264 percent in 2013. 

During the same period, TIF districts that closed had been open for about 16 years on average. Depending on the type of TIF district, the max life of the district can range from around 20 to 27 years, the report shows. Gov. Tony Evers yesterday signed a bill that extends the length of two tax incremental districts in Lake Delton.

See more: 

— Wisconsin business groups are supporting bipartisan national legislation that would increase tax deductions for startups and other small businesses. 

The Support Our Start-Ups Act was introduced by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota. 

Wisconsin has historically been ranked low in terms of new entrepreneurs and new jobs created by startup companies. In a release, Baldwin said the state’s small businesses need a tax break. 

“Small businesses are the engines of our economy and if we provide tax relief to start-ups, we can free up investments to create jobs and grow our economy,” Baldwin said, noting startups have accounted for a third of new U.S. jobs being created every year since 2011. 

Supporters of the bill include Startup Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation and gener8tor, a nationally ranked startup accelerator with offices in Madison, Milwaukee and elsewhere. 

Matt Cordio, co-founder and president of Startup Wisconsin, says the bill would “help ease the personal financial burden placed on entrepreneurs who are the backbone of America’s economic growth engine.” 

The bill would increase the startup deduction for new small businesses from $5,000 to $20,000, while also increasing the deduction’s phase-out threshold from $50,000 to $120,000. The release shows it would also extend the deduction to cover “organizational expenditures” and allowing more types of businesses to benefit. 

See the release: 

See more on the bill: 

— Gov. Tony Evers is slamming Senate Republicans’ decision to fire Ag Secretary Brad Pfaff as a “political assassination.”

Evers told reporters in the Wisconsin Dells “civility is at my core,” but added the move to reject Pfaff’s nomination “pushed me to a different place.”

“When we’re losing a couple of farms a day, when we have a candidate that has complete confidence and for political purposes and amoral purposes, which means it’s not based on what’s right and what’s wrong, its whatever is expedient — that’s a bad thing, that’s a bad thing for our state,” he said yesterday. 

See more in the PM Update: 

— Vice President Mike Pence has rescheduled his visit to Marinette Marine for Nov. 20 after he canceled a previously planned visit to the Wisconsin plant.

Pence was supposed to make the trip Oct. 23, but rescheduled so he could stay in Washington, D.C., for President Trump’s remarks on the situation at the Syrian border at the time. Pence still made it to Wisconsin that day for a visit to Uline in Pleasant Prairie.

Next week, Pence will tour the shipbuilding plant and deliver remarks. The former Indiana guv will then travel to Indianapolis to speak at the Strada Education Network National Symposium Welcome Reception.

— St. Croix Hospice is expanding to serve nearly two-thirds of counties in the state with a new location in Marshfield, its ninth branch in Wisconsin. 

According to a release, the decision was spurred by rising demand for hospice care in central Wisconsin, driven by a rapidly aging state population. DOA has predicted the state’s over-65 population will nearly double between 2010 and 2040. 

With St. Croix Hospice’s 30th U.S. location going up in Marshfield, the company will provide in-home hospice care and other service in 55 counties in the state. Branches are in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. 

See the release: 

— Curate Solutions has won the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Most Innovative Company Award after beating out six other startups in a pitch competition. 

The company scans public meeting data with an artificial intelligence system and delivers insight to construction firms and other companies. Curate’s platform was recently expanded to include documents from all 50 states. 

Listen to a recent podcast with Taralinda Willis, CEO for Curate Solutions: 


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– Chilly crop report shows harvest lingering into November

– Farm accident turns fatal near Sheboygan


– Building blocks: Ajax project in Racine


– Report: Wisconsin TIFs create more than $4 in tax base for every $1 spent


– ‘The place where we help each other’


– New comedy club to bring local and national acts to Walker’s Point


– Applebee’s franchisee acquires 29 restaurants in Wisconsin


– Ascension’s health-data partnership with Google sparks federal inquiry


– Evers calls GOP state senators’ vote ‘amoral and stupid’


– Melissa Goins joins WHEDA board of directors

– Developer to buy vacant Assurant office in downtown, may expand for hotel

– Springdale Apartments in Waukesha sold for $18.7 million


– Farm group urges hunters to respect state’s trespassing law


– Packers donating $150,000 to three Milwaukee-area organizations


– RyTech to relocate, expand operations in Milwaukee


– Security will be tight at DNC, but not an obstacle


– Caleb Frostman: DWD works to widen, strengthen Wisconsin’s employment net

– Eric Bott: Wisconsin needs licensing laws that work


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