Milwaukee-area communities are using tax incremental financing more than ever to fund developments, but not everyone likes it

If you want to start a public policy debate, round up a group of local government officials and residents from different backgrounds and say "tax incremental financing."

Anticipate a buildup of emotions, especially involving suburban communities where TIF districts have huge success stories.

Some firmly believe in this form of development incentive. Others view it as a straight-out bad deal for taxpayers, a criticism that tends to emerge especially when a project is unpopular with neighbors.

Either way, officials say, it is the only meaningful economic tool that Wisconsin has handed local governments, responsible for numerous projects ranging from industrial development to higher density residential projects, with varying success rates.

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Ken Notes: I am and have been a fan of TIF because it is the only tool in the box. Also some local governments, far smarter than the State Legislators, have figured out how to make TIF a win win for their communities attracting the businesses they want and infrastructure that benefits far more than the actual district. Pay as you go, or districts anchored by projects guaranteeing cash flow are often the norm. A well written development agreement can turn a risky gamble into an ironclad partnership. Alas our laws don`t mandate these relationships and so there are TIF`s that are upside down or outright failing.



- - Volume: 10 - WEEK: 17 Date: 4/21/2022 7:46:29 AM -