August 2017 Special Session
2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
August 10, 2017 - Introduced by
Committee on Senate Organization, by request
of Governor Scott Walker. Referred to Joint Committee on Finance.
1An Act to renumber
196.192 (2) and 238.399 (4); to renumber and amend
30.195 (7), 61.57, 62.155, 196.192 (1), 196.192 (3) (a), 196.192 (3) (b) and 196.192 3
(4); to amend
30.123 (6m) (intro.), 66.1105 (2) (f) 1. (intro.), 66.1105 (4) (gm) 4. 4
c., 71.05 (6) (a) 15., 71.08 (1) (intro.), 71.10 (4) (i), 71.21 (4) (a), 71.26 (2) (a) 4., 5
71.30 (3) (f), 71.34 (1k) (g), 84.0145 (2), 180.0622 (2), 183.0304 (1), 196.491 (1) 6
(f), 238.399 (3) (a), 238.399 (5m), 281.346 (4) (c) 2m., 281.36 (3b) (b) and 281.36 7
(3m) (a); and to create
16.004 (23), 16.297, 20.395 (6) (ad), 20.505 (1) (fr), 20.835 8
(2) (cp), 20.866 (2) (uuz), 20.923 (4) (c) 2m., 30.12 (1g) (m), 30.123 (6) (f), 30.19 9
(1m) (h), 30.195 (7) (b), 61.57 (1) and (2), 62.155 (1) and (2), 66.1105 (20), 71.07 10
(3w) (bm) 5., 71.07 (3wm), 71.28 (3w) (bm) 5., 71.28 (3wm), 73.0300, 77.54 (65), 11
84.585, 196.192 (1) (b), 196.192 (2m), 196.49 (5g) (ar) 3., 230.08 (2) (xt), 238.396, 12
238.399 (3) (e), 238.399 (4) (b), 238.399 (5) (f) and 281.36 (4m) of the statutes; 13relating to: authorizing the creation of an electronics and information
14technology manufacturing zone, making changes to the enterprise zone tax
1credit program, authorizing limited use of the design-build construction
2process, granting contingent highway bonding authority, and making
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Electronics and information technology manufacturing zone
This bill authorizes the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to
create not more than one electronics and information technology manufacturing
Under the bill, WEDC may certify certain businesses to claim income and
franchise tax credits if a business begins operations in the electronics and
information technology manufacturing zone. WEDC may certify such a business for
additional income and franchise tax credits, subject to certain limitations, if the
business makes a significant capital expenditure in the zone. If the amount of the
credit exceeds the taxpayer's tax liability, the taxpayer receives a refund equal to the
excess amount. The total amount of all tax credits WEDC may certify under the bill
is $2,850,000,000. WEDC may seek repayment of tax credits under circumstances
specified in the bill, and WEDC must revoke a certification to claim tax credits if a
certified business does any of the following:
1. Supplies false or misleading information to obtain the tax credits.
2. Leaves the electronics and information technology manufacturing zone to
conduct substantially the same business outside the zone.
3. Ceases operations in the electronics and information technology
manufacturing zone and does not renew operation of the business or a similar
business in the zone within 12 months.
Sales and use tax exemption
The bill creates a sales and use tax exemption for the sale of building materials,
supplies, and equipment used to construct facilities located in an electronics and
information technology manufacturing zone if the capital expenditures for
constructing the facilities may be claimed as income and franchise tax credits as
certified by WEDC.
Tax incremental financing districts
The bill creates special provisions that apply to certain tax incremental
financing districts (TIDs) if WEDC creates an electronics and information
technology manufacturing zone, and a city or village creates a TID that includes the
Under the current tax incremental financing program, a city or village may
create a TID in part of its territory to foster development under certain conditions.
Currently, towns and counties also have a limited ability to create a TID under
certain limited circumstances. Before a city or village may create a TID, several
steps and plans are required. These steps and plans include public hearings on the
proposed TID within specified time frames, adoption of a resolution, submission of
documents to the Department of Revenue within specified time frames, and the
preparation and adoption by the local planning commission of a proposed project
plan for the TID.
Generally, if a resolution creating a TID is adopted between January 2 and
September 30, the TID is considered to have been created on the previous January
1, and if a resolution creating a TID is adopted between October 1 and December 31,
its creation date is considered to be the following January 1. In addition, forms
required by DOR must be submitted to the department by October 31 of the year in
which the TID is created.
Also under current law, once a TID has been created, DOR calculates the “tax
incremental base" value of the TID, which is the equalized value of all taxable
property within the TID at the time of its creation. If the development in the TID
increases the value of the property in the TID above the base value, a value
increment is created. That portion of taxes collected on the value increment in excess
of the base value is called a “tax increment" and is placed in a fund that may be used
only to pay back the project costs of the TID.
The project costs of a TID, which are initially incurred by the creating city or
village, include public works such as sewers, streets, and lighting systems; financing
costs; site preparation costs; and professional service costs. DOR authorizes the
allocation of the tax increments until the TID terminates or, generally, 20 years, 23
years, or 27 years after the TID is created, depending on the type of TID and the year
in which it was created. Also under current law, a city or village may not generally
make expenditures for project costs later than five years before the unextended
termination date of the TID. Under certain circumstances, the life of the TID, the
expenditure period, and the allocation period may be extended.
Generally, under current law, expenditures for project costs must be spent
within the boundaries of the TID, although limited exceptions allow expenditures to
be made within a one-half mile radius of the TID's boundaries. Also, with regard to
TIDs created after September 30, 2004, the territory of which is mostly suitable for
industrial sites or mixed-use development, the TIDs must generally terminate not
later than 20 years after their creation.
Subject to a number of exceptions, under current law, the equalized value of
taxable property of a new or amended TID plus the value increment of all existing
TIDs may not exceed 12 percent of the total equalized value of taxable property in
the city or village.
Under this bill, for TIDs that are created in an area that includes an electronics
and information technology manufacturing zone, a number of exceptions apply to the
normal provisions that apply to TIDs, including the following:
1. The TID that is created must be an industrial site or mixed-use TID.
2. If the resolution creating the TID is adopted between January 1 and
December 1, the creating city or village may decide if the TID is considered to have
been created on the January 1 of the year in which the resolution is adopted or on
the following January 1, and the forms required by DOR must be submitted before
December 31 of the year in which the resolution is adopted or between the following
April 1 and the following December 1, depending on the TID's creation date.
3. The 12 percent rule regarding the total equalized value for taxable property
in the city or village does not apply.
4. The city or village creating the TID may incur expenditures for project costs
for any territory that is located in the same county in which the TID is located,
provided the expenditure benefits the TID.
5. Instead of limiting to 20 years the period during which DOR may allocate
positive tax increments, the allocation period is 30 years.
6. Instead of requiring the TID to terminate no later than 20 years after
creation, the TID must terminate within 30 years after it is created.
Environmental impact statements
Under current law, all state agencies are required to prepare environmental
impact statements for every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation
and other major actions significantly affecting the quality of the human
environment. A state agency is required to consider an environmental impact
statement in its decision-making process, but the statement has no regulatory
consequence. Current federal law under the National Environmental Policy Act also
requires federal agencies to prepare an environmental impact statement for any
major federal action, including for federal permits that are necessary for actions in
the state. Under the bill, a determination regarding the issuance of any permit or
approval for a new manufacturing facility within an electronics and information
technology manufacturing zone is not a major action for the purpose of the
environmental impact statement requirement.
Wetlands and waterway permits exemption
Under federal law, activities involving the discharge of dredged or fill material
into “navigable waters” must comply with certain guidelines contained in
regulations promulgated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in order
for a discharge permit to be issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE).
Before ACE may issue a permit, the Department of Natural Resources must
determine that the project complies with state water quality standards, including
those for wetlands (water quality certification). Federal law defines “navigable
waters” to be “the waters of the United States.” Generally, courts have interpreted
“the waters of the United States” to exclude nonnavigable, isolated, intrastate
waters (nonfederal wetlands).
Under current state law, subject to exceptions, no person may discharge
dredged material or fill material into a federal or nonfederal wetland unless the
discharge is authorized by a wetland general permit or individual permit, or the
discharge is exempt from permitting requirements. Current law requires DNR to
issue wetland general permits for discharges of dredged or fill material into certain
federal and nonfederal wetlands. For a discharge into a wetland that is not
authorized under a wetland general permit, current law requires a person to apply
for and obtain a wetland individual permit. Before DNR may issue a wetland
individual permit, it must require the restoration, enhancement, creation, or
preservation of other wetlands to compensate for adverse impacts to a wetland
resulting from the discharge, also known as mitigation. Under current law, a
wetland general or individual permit issued by DNR constitutes water quality
Under this bill, a person may, without a permit, discharge dredged material or
fill material into a nonfederal wetland that is located in an electronics and
information technology manufacturing zone if the discharge is related to the
construction, access, or operation of a new manufacturing facility that is also located
in the zone. With respect to a federal wetland located in an electronics and
information technology manufacturing zone, the bill provides that no state permit
is required and that the state waives water quality certification. Under the bill, a
federal permit for such a discharge is still required. The bill requires any adverse
impacts to functional values of federal or nonfederal wetlands in an electronics and
information technology manufacturing zone to be compensated at a ratio of two acres
per each acre impacted through the purchase of credits from a mitigation bank,
participation in the in lieu fee subprogram or escrow subprogram administered by
DNR, or completion of mitigation within this state. Under current law, the general
minimum ratio is 1.2 acres for each acre affected by the discharge.
Under current law, subject to exceptions, no person may do any of the following
without a permit issued by DNR: 1) deposit any material or place any structure upon
the bed of any navigable water where no bulkhead line has been established or
beyond a lawfully established bulkhead line; 2) construct or maintain a bridge or
construct, place, or maintain a culvert in, on, or over navigable waters; 3) construct,
dredge, or enlarge any artificial water body that connects with an existing navigable
waterway; 4) construct or enlarge any part of an artificial water body that is or will
be located within 500 feet of the ordinary high-water mark of, but that does not or
will not connect with, an existing navigable waterway; 5) grade or remove topsoil
from the bank of any navigable waterway where the area exposed by the grading or
removal will exceed 10,000 square feet; and 6) change the course of or straighten a
Under the bill, DNR generally may not require a permit for any of these
activities if they relate to the construction, access, or operation of a new
manufacturing facility located in an electronics and information technology
manufacturing zone. However, the bill provides that DNR may require a permit for
the construction or maintenance of bridges and the construction or placement and
maintenance of culverts if DNR determines that conditions specific to the site require
restrictions in order to prevent significant adverse impacts to the public rights and
interests, environmental pollution, or material injury to the riparian rights of any
Public Service Commission certificates and market-based rates
This bill exempts public utility projects within an electronics and information
technology manufacturing zone from obtaining a certificate of authority from the
Public Service Commission, which current law generally requires for construction,
improvement, and other projects of public utilities. The bill also exempts
transmission line relocations within such a zone from obtaining a certificate of public
convenience and necessity from the PSC, which current law generally requires
before beginning construction of high-voltage transmission lines and associated
The bill also requires an electric public utility that provides service to an
electronics and information technology manufacturing zone to file tariffs with the
PSC for market-based pricing and options for new retail customers within the zone.
The bill requires the tariffs to be filed no later than January 1, 2020. The bill specifies
requirements that must be included in the tariffs and requires the PSC to approve
rates that are consistent with those requirements.
Grants to local governments
This bill authorizes the Department of Administration to make grants to local
governmental units for costs associated with development in an electronics and
information technology manufacturing zone, including costs related to
infrastructure and public safety. DOA may require a local governmental unit to
match a grant in whole or in part.
Contingent highway bonding authorization
This bill authorizes the state to contract up to $252,400,000 in general
obligation public debt for the I 94 north-south corridor project. The Department of
Transportation, however, may not expend the proceeds of these bonds unless the
state receives an award of federal moneys for the project.
This bill authorizes a city or village in which an electronics and information
technology manufacturing zone is located to contract for the acquisition of water and
sewer systems, and wastewater treatment facilities, using the design-build system.
Under this system, the city or village invites developers to submit proposals to
provide completed projects in these areas without following the bidding
requirements for public works projects that would otherwise apply. Current law
authorizes the use of this system by any city, village, or county for the acquisition of
recycling or resource recovery facilities.
Under current law, WEDC may designate areas within the state as “enterprise
zones.” WEDC may certify a business in an enterprise zone to receive income and
franchise tax credits if the business creates or retains jobs in the enterprise zone,
subject to several limitations. The bill makes the following changes to the enterprise
zone tax credit program: