Proposed tax credit has potential for 'tens of millions' in economic development in Racine

2013-10-19T22:42:00Z 2013-11-11T06:15:33Z Proposed tax credit has potential for 'tens of millions' in economic development in RacineALISON BAUTER Journal Times

RACINE — A proposed state tax credit could mean “tens of millions of dollars” in economic development for Racine, according to local legislators.

If passed, the Historic Tax Credit “has the potential bring a large project to Racine,” according to Speaker of the Assembly Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

How large?

“I don’t know, but I think tens of millions of dollars in economic development,” said Vos, saying he was first approached about the project several weeks ago by Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig.

Ladwig recently visited Madison to testify in support of the bill, which doubles a state tax credit used to redevelop historic buildings.

The Legislature already increased the credit once this year, increasing it from 5 percent to 10 percent of

qualified rehabilitation expenses. The latest measure, which passed the Assembly Thursday, doubles the credit to 20 percent, supplementing an existing federal tax credit for historic building redevelopment.

Elected leaders across party lines in the City of Racine, Racine County and state government have reportedly been pushing hard for the credit increase, hoping it will pave the way for the unnamed potential redevelopment and the economic implications it entails.

“If this bill becomes law, I think you could see some projects move forward that are larger than other projects we’ve seen in the city for more than a decade,” said state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, who echoed Vos’ estimate on economic impact.

Ladwig confirmed, “There have been developers that have spoken in favor of the tax credits and have expressed an interest in potentially doing something in the county,” although that opportunity is contingent on developers and property sellers reaching a deal.

The credit could potentially impact redevelopment efforts around the state, but will especially serve cities with older, more historical buildings, such as Racine and Burlington, Vos said.

In Racine County, there are 1,436 nonresidential buildings listed on the national register that could take advantage of the tax credit, according to Jen Davel, a preservation architect with the Wisconsin Historical Society.

On that list, which Davel noted is not all-inclusive, 69 qualifying buildings are located in the City of Racine.

Area leaders’ full-court press cuts across party lines, and includes Racine Mayor John Dickert, Ladwig, Vos and Caledonia Republican Rep. Thomas Weatherston, Mason said.

“I wish we did this more often,” he commented, “have us all putting the interest of the community first.”

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates the credit will cost the state $8.6 million over the next two years, but Vos and Mason both said that based on surrounding states’ results with similar credits, the resulting economic development will recoup those costs and more.

The state Senate is scheduled to take up the tax credit this November. Racine Democratic Sen. John Lehman is signed on as a bill co-sponsor in that house.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the governor this year, the tax credit would take effect in 2014.


Under current law, a person can claim an income and franchise state tax credit for 5 percent of certain cost for rehabilitating certified historic structures. The credit supplements an existing 20 percent federal tax credit.

Under the bill passed Thursday in the state Assembly, the state credit increases to 20 percent. The bill also directs the state Department of Revenue and Wisconsin Historical Society to submit a report to the Joint Committee on Finance no later than June 30, 2018, describing the economic impact of the tax credits and making a recommendation as to whether the tax credits should continue.

Copyright 2015 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. FedUp Now
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    FedUp Now - October 21, 2013 10:12 am
    cristinwin .... you are so wrong. you better go check your facts and talk to the tax preparers. There are LOTS of people that get refunds on returns that don't work ... not even ONE day. I promise you it is most regretably true!!!
  2. cristinwin
    Report Abuse
    cristinwin - October 21, 2013 8:40 am
    Excuse me but they are working....the only reason they get so much is because of the earned income credit for their children...but the only way to get it is to be working
  3. GoBearsGo
    Report Abuse
    GoBearsGo - October 20, 2013 7:34 pm

    Who are the "those" that could use it? Can you enlighten me. The people that pay no taxes? I am tired of those that pay nothing and get money back when they file there taxes. Go ahead and ask someone that does taxes about how many people get hundreds if not thousands back for not working.

    Before you accuse me of not knowing what I speak of, stop, I have friends and family members that do taxes. I know that the tax prepayers are sick by what they see, as they should be. If you pay nothing into taxes you should not get anything back.
  4. speaking frankly
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    speaking frankly - October 20, 2013 7:21 pm
    But I thought if it was a historic building, it could not be changed or modified?
  5. Mrs John Hanner
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    Mrs John Hanner - October 20, 2013 3:16 pm
    This will be another disaster. Anything that involves Dickert and real estate is doomed to failure and will cost us millions of dollars. Try taking a real look at the city. NO ONE is going to invest large amounts of their money in this ghetto. They'll only do it with our money, like lying John's pals.

    What's going on with Porter's? We were promised that work would begin in September. It's late October and nothing has been done. Why were 3 million of our tax dollars given away to Porter's? Does anyone in City Hall pay any attention to the law?
  6. granny grits
    Report Abuse
    granny grits - October 20, 2013 10:46 am
    Nothing like a good whine in the morning...get a life.
  7. ggodmuls
    Report Abuse
    ggodmuls - October 20, 2013 9:49 am
    There is no difference between the Fascists who control Racine and Racine County. Fascism is a partnership of Corporate Government with Corporate Private Business which socializes the losses, privatizes the gains, and is dependent upon who you know - i.e. FOJ. AKA - Crony Capitalism.

    This is nothing more than another attempt to kick the can a bit farther down the road and attempt to put off the inevitable DEAFULT of Racine - which might bring Racine County with it. Jim and John - the Real Estate Pimps of Racine County are feeling the heat since it can't be denied what the eyes can see - Racine is being a vast wasteland of ghetto properties - the boaters are abandoning Racine - and the subject The JT won't touch - the failure of Main Marine Ski - and why NOBODY would buy the business.

    Racine's situation kinda reminds of this moment in Lethal Weapon (1987) :

    00:09:19 MURTAUGH: All dressed up, no one to xlow.

    Time - Phrase

    00:09:14 Get her statement, send her home.

    00:09:16 Thanks. I'm beat. You know how it is.

    00:09:19 MURTAUGH: All dressed up, no one to xlow.

    00:09:22 You're hilarious! I can't believe you darn cops!

    00:09:25 The jumper's name is Amanda Hunsaker.

    Racine's going to JUMP into that leap of faith with the 4 Horsemen of Racine's Economic Apocalypse!

    I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
  8. Green Racinereal
    Report Abuse
    Green Racinereal - October 20, 2013 9:20 am
    Look at the list proved by Mrs Osterman see who owns the properties and may benefit the most. As what scams I mean Ideas of the City of Racine could "benefit" from this.
    God we are so F...ed
  9. Green Racinereal
    Report Abuse
    Green Racinereal - October 20, 2013 9:10 am
    So the cover is in place to save the County Executive from NOT taking Business properties behind (some for years) on property taxes After all we will see millions spent on these properties. Right? Millions.
    Got to give Mayor Dickert credit for finding ways to control Racine County vs just the City of Racine.
  10. LoveRacine
    Report Abuse
    LoveRacine - October 20, 2013 8:46 am
    Found the list for the Wisconsin Historical Society designated properties in Racine: Pages 53-54.
  11. Unreal Racine
    Report Abuse
    Unreal Racine - October 20, 2013 8:34 am
    Anytime Dickert, Ladwig, Mason and Vos get together on anything, we should all be very concerned.

    Is this related to Porter's and the millions our city has given away to them for nothing in return?

    Is this related to giving the Meredith family tax exemptions on the Womens Club after the city blocked a minority owned business from buying the property?

    Is this related to demolishing buildings in Uptown using a rigged bidding process?

    Is this related to lying about the condition of a building in Uptown to call it 'condemned' so the city could buy it for $250, become a landlord and choose who they want to put in that building?

    Is this related to selling historic and sacred mounds to the Meredith family for a fraction of the real value when that land was designated to never be sold at any price?

    Is this related to the past 'developments' of low income housing in Racine that received tax credits only to turn it into more slumlord apartments?

    Is this related to giving away $100,000 for another liquor store on Washington Ave?

    Is this related to providing numerous 'facade grants' to friends for their bars?

    Why does Racine provide handouts and special favors to friends at the expense of the community? Will this 'project' just be another example of this?
  12. LoveRacine
    Report Abuse
    LoveRacine - October 20, 2013 8:30 am
    Just wondering--what 69 designated historic structures in Racine are we talking about?
  13. layedback
    Report Abuse
    layedback - October 20, 2013 8:20 am
    Too bad none of that money will end up in the hands of those that could use it.
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