Wisconsin Needs TIF Districts

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

Economic development initiatives are a top priority for older communities across the nation, and southeastern Wisconsin is no exception. We’re seeing plans for major development projects taking shape, and most importantly, local leaders are being more proactive in creating their community’s future.

With major plans for progress comes the need for the financial tools with which to move these visions ahead. Luckily, there are tools available that can help many of these projects succeed.

Lately, it seems a growing debate about tax incremental financing (TIF) is flooding local communities, leaving many not understanding what TIF is, why it is needed and how it can benefit the citizens of our transforming older communities.

Organized opposition groups often form against important and much-needed economic development projects because the public doesn’t fully understand how TIF works. A major misconception is the fear that residents’ property values will skyrocket once a TIF district is put in place.

TIF myths need to be dispelled, and the public educated about the value and benefits of this important economic development tool. The time is now for communities to be progressive and take the initiative to educate their constituents about TIF.

With a TIF educational component in place, developments that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred will be embraced and move forward, community tax base will increase, and the public in areas where TIF is being utilized will actually experience tax relief.

As more people learn why local government and private developers are turning to TIF for assistance, Wisconsin, which is currently behind the rest of the region in using TIF to our advantage, will move into the spotlight.

Southeastern Wisconsin is quickly catching on and implementing progressive, regional development initiatives, but needs more forward thinkers to educate our communities about the many benefits of tax incremental financing.

H. Carl Mueller is president of Milwaukee-based Mueller Communication Inc., a full-service public relations agency, specializing in public affairs, business-to-business marketing, corporate and crisis communication.

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