Wisconsin Governor Closes Manufacturers' Tax Loophole

State overturns 2004 court decision that expanded property tax break for companies that use recycled materials to reduce pollution.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill Wednesday that will return $34 million in property to the tax rolls by closing a loophole used by paper and manufacturing companies.
Doyle said the law would protect other property taxpayers from having to pay more than their fair share.
The law essentially overturns a 2004 court decision that expanded a property tax break for companies that reduce pollution by using recycled materials.
The ruling said the property tax exemption could apply to all land, buildings and equipment at manufacturing sites where waste treatment is performed. Historically, the break was limited to property used to treat waste that had no value, such as wastewater treatment facilities.
After the ruling, three companies were granted $34 million worth of annual property tax exemptions. Those will vanish this year under the new law.
Scores of other companies that recycle paper, plastics and metal have applied for tax breaks worth an additional $135 million per year. Most will no longer qualify for the break, which municipalities warned would mean higher property taxes for others if allowed to stand.
More in Supply Chain