Those who attended the WTA Annual Convention in October heard about a troubling package of workforce housing bills that moved all too quickly through the State Assembly. The package was circulated 2 days before Convention and passed the Assembly only 19 days later. This rushing through of a package is not typical. While WTA would love the opportunity to work on legislation that addresses workforce housing issues, this package of bills actually worsens current issues while simultaneously creating new ones. A quick summary of each bill can be found here.
Even though these bad bills moved at record pace through the Assembly, we were hopeful that the Senate would move slowly and deliberately to stop them. Unfortunately, one of the bills that passed the Assembly, AB 610, is now scheduled for a hearing next Tuesday in the Senate Committee on Housing, Commerce, and Trade. This bill, addressing property tax assessment practices, shifts more of the tax burden away from commercial and multifamily properties and puts that burden onto single family residential, agricultural, and all other properties. Even more problematic for local government, this bill throws away much of how we currently approach assessment in Wisconsin along with the decades of case law that has become our foundation for assessment practice. This shock to the system would create local government exposure to lawsuits and liability, much like the Dark Stores issue has, only with the potential to be much more widespread than the Dark Stores issue ever became.
We are also at the point where we need to ask that you call your state Senators’ office and ask them to oppose these bills. This call can be very brief, explaining your opposition to the Senator’s staff and asking for their opposition as well.