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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

 4:53 PM 

Senate passes TIF bill with GreenWhey amendment

Before we move on to the raft of election bills that are now going to be debated, the Senate just passed SB 338, which expands the authority of towns to create Tax Incremental Finance Districts.

However, one of the amendments to the bill attempted to fix an existing conflict with a 2013-15 budget provision that exempted bioenergy projects from property taxes. GreenWhey Energy operates a biodigester out of Turtle Lake, which is within a TIF district.

Locals want the company to abide by the existing terms of the TIF, while the company believes it would be at a disadvantage if denied the property tax exemption given to every other bioenergy project. 

An amendment adopted in the Assembly said the property tax exemption would not apply to those properties within TIF districts until the district terminates, meaning GreenWhey would not immediately benefit from that provision. 

While Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald authored a Senate amendment that would have removed that language, he asked for that amendment to be returned to the author, taking it off of the table. 

Jauch, who pushed for the Assembly amendment, thanked Fitzgerald and Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Marathon, and said he hoped the township and GreenWhey could avoid legal action and negotiate an agreement. 

"What this proposal does is it recognizes our responsibility to protect a community that seeks to create a TIF... and that they ought not be shortchanged," Jauch said.



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