ON-Lion Letter

In November, on behalf of a number of City of Eau Claire taxpayers, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty in Milwaukee sent a Notice of Claim to the City of Eau Claire.  The city has amended its TIF District #8 and created a new TIF District #10 in disregard of the requirements of Wisconsin Law.  Wisconsin law permits the creation of these specialized taxing districts in limited circumstances, for the most part those involving redevelopment projects that address issues of urban blight and could not be made to work without special treatment.  The Eau Claire Districts challenged by WILL do not meet these requirements.

"Wisconsin tax increment law represents a departure from Wisconsin's requirement of uniform taxation, and can be justified only in the very limited circumstances that the Legislature has described," according to WILL president and general counsel Rick Esenberg.  "Too often, City officials use tax increment financing for a project that might seem to them to be a good idea, but that has little or nothing to do with urban blight and does not otherwise meet the statutory criteria.  That appears to be the case in Eau Claire, which has decided to use tax incremental financing to support the Confluence Project.  Such projects should stand or fall on their own merits and not be supported through taxpayer subsidies."

The filing of the Notice of Claim with the city and the Joint Review Board is the necessary first step before court review can be sought by WILL, which is substantially supported by Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

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