Wednesday, July 13, 2016
So Predictable. Soon After Downtown TIF District Approval, Janesville Fees Set To ARISE
It's like, "Hey Janesville taxpayers, now that it's been more than a month since we (Forward Janesville) locked up all downtown assessed tax revenue growth for the next 27 years with a TIF carve-out for ourselves, it's okay to talk about your city's budget deficit again. Permission granted. Now you can figure out amongst yourselves how you're going to balance future budgets. You can raise taxes and fees till you're blue in the face. But don't count on downtown's growth dollars. It's not called ARISE for nothing. Thanks suckers! LOL"
As you probably know, this blog was the only media source in Rock County (as is usually the case) to recall Janesville's $800,000 projected budget deficit during the administration's run up to locking the city's most promising area for future assessed values out from general fund obligations. Other media sources including social media forums and the Janesville Gazette made sure to squash any correlation between the two. It's like Janesville's projected budget deficit fell off a cliff. It didn't serve their purpose at the time, but now it does. That's how the rigged establishment works.
I also wrote that residents should expect council members to begin raising every tax and fee they legally can soon after approving the TIF District to make up for the shifted revenue and as predicted, this week the council gave a thumbs up to raising dozens of city fees.
Members of the public who spoke up at the meeting in favor of raising the fees - zero.
Some taxpayers believe growth in active TIF Districts counts toward helping increase the area's equalized values, thereby adding to the taxable base of a community each year to help pay the bills. That's totally wrong. Their growth does not add anything until the TIF District expires.
Remember, the state froze property tax levies and limited increases in taxation to new growth. Some people are happy with that cap and cut program, wrongly thinking their property taxes cannot go up, but don't forget assessed values above the initial baseline in TIF Districts ARE NOT counted. Not to sound redundant, THAT means TIF Districts add zero new dollars to the general fund.
Here's the thing. Not all TIF Districts are created equal. It's becoming increasingly rare, but some TIFs do actually work as intended. But others, like Janesville's downtown TIF District, are platforms designed to confiscate tax revenue for the special interest projects of city hall insiders like Forward Janesville.
So creating new or more TIF Districts is the last thing local governments in Wisconsin should consider if they are in need of instant tax revenue for daily operations. Officials should run away from TIFs like they're the plague.
Sadly in Janesville, it has become where the only districts receiving full representation and administrative consideration are TIF Districts. As you are probably aware of, Janesville does not have electoral districts (wards) democratically represented in city government. It's a captured special interest crony capital "at-large" style of government with an appointed administrator hired by a committee selected by area elites. In other words, it's run like Hazzard County - a total farce.
So let's recap quickly on recent events:
1. Mark Freitag, the city manager, warned that the next city budget will begin with a $800,000 deficit and asked for immediate public discussions to resolve the issue.
2. That led the Janesville Gazette and other media forums to quickly black out the manager’s deficit warning for five months. Why? Because they have an agenda to ram through first.
3. On cue, while ignoring the projected deficit, the city administration proposed and the council approved a TIF District for downtown that will shift an estimated average of $1 million of additional revenue a year away from the General Fund – for the next 27 years.
4. Large commercial properties and businesses are challenging their property tax assessments and lawyering much lower assessments and refunds from the city in the tens of thousands of dollars each.
5. Less than two months after approving the downtown TIF, the Janesville city council turns to raising a plethora of city fees – many by 50% to 100%.
6. After the TIF approval, the city's projected deficit is now back in open discussion, but it's now reaching $950,000. City officials continue to blame the deficit on city employee raises and the state for tying additional budget growth to growth in assessed value. Reminder: Growth in TIF Districts does not count.
7. Many homeowners are under the mistaken impression that their property taxes cannot go up substantially because of the state cap on levies.
8. With commercial assessed values declining and future assessed growth quarantined in TIF’s – the people left holding the bag and a much larger share of paying for general fund operations are the residential property owners.
So predictable. You Can Set Your Clock To It.
RNR - Janesville Downtown TIF District Won't Boost Property Value Much. But It Will Confiscate It.
RNR - TIF Districts: A Generation Of Wealth Confiscation And Broken Memes
Posted by Lou Kaye at 12:17 PM