Saturday, June 16, 2007

Meeting on Tax Loopholes Monday...

Press release from the Institute for Wisconsin's Future:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 15, 2007
CONTACT: Joe Fahey 414-731-4789

County Forum On Closing Tax Loophole
To Prevent tax increases for homeowners and businesses

Leaders from city and county government, community organizations and labor unions leaders from Winnebago County are encouraging voters to meet their state legislators and urge them to close a new corporate tax loophole that causes higher property taxes for homeowners and small businesses. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 18 at 7:00pm at the Coughlin Center in Oshkosh.

This loophole was opened by a recent court ruling. A New Jersey-based paper company argued that a 1953 law that exempted sewage treatment facilities from property tax should exempt them also (because they use re-cycled cardboard in their manufacturing process). A state court allowed this company, Newark Paper, to stop paying taxes on its paper mill property in Milwaukee County. This court decision turned a small and specific tax exemption into a giant tax loophole. Currently, hundreds of manufacturers throughout Wisconsin use recycled materials and dozens of companies have applied for this new tax loophole.

Any property tax decrease received by a corporation results in a property tax increase for everyone else owning property in the same city or county. This property tax break is a windfall for corporations who will continue operating as before, benefiting from the same fire and police protection, the same road repairs, snow removal and other services vital to their businesses. But these normal costs of doing business will no longer be borne by that business. Instead, the costs for the public services used by the corporation will be paid through increased property taxes by other businesses and all homeowners.

A group of Democratic and Republican legislators have sponsored a bill to close this new loophole and protect families and businesses from property tax increases. This bill – Senate Bill 122 – was introduced in April. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce opposes the bill and Assembly leaders in the state legislature have delayed it.

The June 18 meeting is open to the public and is an opportunity for the public to discuss the issue with their elected state legislators and ask them to close this loophole immediately.
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Institute for Wisconsin’s Future Press Release

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