High court turns down challenge to Eau Claire TIF District

Posted at 4:25 p.m. on June 6, 2018

Suit said city fudged by calling area blighted when it wasn’t

The Brillion News

MILWAUKEE – The Wisconsin Supreme Court issued a decision on Wednesday, June 6, in the case of Voters With Facts v. City of Eau Claire.

The suit challenged the city’s establishment of a new Tax Increment Financing District, which the Voters With Facts (VWF) group said stretched state law to find property to be “blighted” that was not blighted.

A public interest law firm, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), provided legal counsel and representation to VWF in the suit. WILL had hoped the state Supreme Court would rule against the city and limit cities’ use of tax increment financing to benefit private developers.

“We are disappointed by the decision of the court. It is our view that TIF abuse is a problem in the State of Wisconsin that invites local governments to provide favorable tax treatment for private developments,” WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg said. “While today’s decision leaves taxpayers with the limited remedy of certiorari review, it does not ensure that municipalities will scrupulously adhere to the limits placed on TIF districts by the legislature.”

Esenberg said it may be necessary for the state legislature to change state law and rein in cities and villages that flaunt the current law to bankroll developers.

A complete story on the decision and its implications will be featured in the June 14 print edition of The Brillion News.

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