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(Janesville, WI) Excerpts courtey of the Gazette, the Oshkosh Northwestern and the Governor's Office.

Governor Scott Walker signed a pair of economic development bills this week: one in Janesville and the other in Oshkosh. Each bill represents a significant step forward in enhancing the flexibility and value associated with tax credit and tax increment financing program, respectively.

Act 184, which authorizes the ability to transfer tax credits earned through Wisconsin's Economic Development Tax Credit program, represents a key milestone in the State of Wisconsin's ED Toolbox. Previously, no such transfer mechanism existed within any of Wisconsin's tax credit programs. Now, eligible Wisconsin taxpayers - when certain conditions exist and within a contractually regulated environment - are permitted to transfer tax credits to facilitate an economic development project. These conditions include, when a business: has headquarters in Wisconsin and at least 51 percent employees are located in the state; intends to relocate its headquarters to Wisconsin and have at least 51 percent of its employees in the state; plans to expand operations in Wisconsin and that the expansion will increase full-time Wisconsin employment by at least 10 percent of the business’ full-time employees; or the business intends to expand operations in Wisconsin and will make a significant capital investment in property in Wisconsin related to expansion.

“This is important for Forward Janesville but also for other communities across the state where they can take these economic development job credits and make them transferable,” Walker said. “It's something that's been on the Forward Janesville and Rock County legislative agenda for some time."

Act 183, which authorizes the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) to re-determine the base value of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) disricts that represent a "decrement situation". Decrement exists where the base or book value of a TIF is higher than its actual or current market value. To reconcile this valuation difference, communities can now request a DOR revaluation when at least 10 percent of the TIF's current value  - for two consecutive years - is below its recorded base value.

Walker touted the law as a chance to help cities invest in infrastructure and usher in development that will create jobs and property value. “This is a great example … of a good bipartisan bill. It’s one of the things you sent people to Madison to act on,” Walker said. “This was indicative of not just here in Oshkosh, but other communities. We had people from Racine to Rhinelander from Eau Claire down to Janesville. Everyone supported this.”

These new laws, which received solid bi-partisan support, accompany a series of other business friendly changes that have recently been enacted. For example, the Governor also signed into law initiatives to reduce property, income and payroll taxes. Funding increases for Wisconsin's Fast Forward workforce training program has been approved, as well. 

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