2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
July 10, 2019 - Introduced by Senators Marklein, Testin, Bernier, Feyen,
Petrowski and Tiffany, cosponsored by Representatives Quinn, Ballweg,
Dittrich, Edming, Horlacher, James, Katsma, Kitchens, Krug, Kulp, Kurtz,
Murphy, Mursau, Novak, Oldenburg, Petryk, Plumer, Pronschinske,
Snyder, Sortwell, Spiros, Stafsholt, Summerfield, Swearingen, Tauchen,
Tranel, Tusler, VanderMeer and Zimmerman. Referred to Committee on
Utilities and Housing.
1An Act to amend
76.81; and to create
76.80 (2), (2m) and (5) of the statutes; 2relating to: telephone company tax exemption for property used to provide
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill exempts property used to provide broadband service to a rural or
underserved area from the telephone company tax that is paid by telephone
companies in lieu of the general property tax. To qualify for the exemption, property
installed prior to January 1, 2020, must be used to provide Internet access service
to a rural area at a download speed of at least 25 megabits per second and an upload
speed of at least 3 megabits per second. Property installed after December 31, 2019,
must be used to provide Internet access service to a rural or underserved area at
those same speeds or, if higher, speeds designated by the Federal Communications
Commission. Under the bill, an “underserved area” is any area in the state served
by fewer than two wired service providers, and a “rural area” is any area in the state
that is located outside a federal metropolitan statistical area or is located in a city,
village, or town with a population of not more than 14,000. For property installed
prior to January 1, 2020, the determination of whether an area is a rural area is
based on the 2010 federal decennial census.
Because this bill relates to an exemption from state or local taxes, it may be
referred to the Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions for a report to be printed
as an appendix to the bill.
For further information see the state fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
76.80 (2), (2m) and (5) of the statutes are created to read:
“Qualified broadband service property” means tangible personal 3
property that meets any of the following standards:
(a) The property is installed prior to January, 1, 2020, and is used to provide 5
Internet access service to a rural area at actual speeds that are at least a download 6
speed of 25 megabits per second and an upload speed of 3 megabits per second.
(b) The property is installed after December 31, 2019, and is used to provide 8
Internet access service to a rural or underserved area at actual speeds that meet or 9
exceed the higher of the following thresholds:
1. A download speed of 25 megabits per second and an upload speed of 3 11
megabits per second.
2. The download and upload speed benchmarks for fixed services as designated 13
by the federal communications commission in its inquiries regarding advanced 14
telecommunications capability under 47 USC 1302
“Rural area” means an area in this state that is located outside a federal 16
metropolitan statistical area or is located in a city, village, or town with a population 17
of not more than 14,000. For purposes of sub. (2) (a), the determination of whether 18
an area meets the criteria of this subsection shall be made on the basis of the 2010 19
federal decennial census.
“Underserved area" means an area in this state in which Internet access 2
service at the highest speed threshold described in sub. (2) (b) is not available from 3
at least 2 wired providers.
76.81 of the statutes is amended to read:
There is imposed a tax on the real property of, and the 6
tangible personal property of, every telephone company, excluding property that is 7
exempt from the property tax under s. 70.11 (39) and (39m), motor vehicles that are 8
exempt under s. 70.112 (5), property that is used less than 50 percent in the operation 9
of a telephone company, as provided under s. 70.112 (4) (b), and
treatment plant and 10
pollution abatement equipment that is exempt under s. 70.11 (21)
, and qualified
11broadband service property
. Except as provided in s. 76.815, the rate for the tax 12
imposed on each description of real property and on each item of tangible personal 13
property is the net rate for the prior year for the tax under ch. 70 in the taxing 14
jurisdictions where the description or item is located. The real and tangible personal 15
property of a telephone company shall be assessed as provided under s. 70.112 (4) (b).
(1) This act first applies to the property tax assessments as of January 1, 2020.