Fifty years ago, commercial and business properties accounted for roughly 50% of property taxes in Wisconsin, and residential making up the other 50%. Thanks to tax breaks commercial and business properties now makeup roughly 30%, with residential properties must pick up the remaining 70%. This is the major reason why residential property have grown, not excessive local government spending.

Bit-by-bit, business interests and the wealthy get more and more tax breaks. This means the working and middle class either pay to make up the difference, cuts are made to the social safety net, or government deficit balloons out of control. Meanwhile income inequality grows year after year.

The KPW TIF is just one more example tax breaks for the well-heeled and the rest of the Stoughton taxpayers will pick up the tab. TIF proponents try to convince you that it will pay for itself, but rarely does it ever work out that way. The added cost of providing services for the TIF district will be borne by the rest of the Stoughton taxpayers.

Some members of the Stoughton School District are convinced that providing TIF money will somehow save our school district. I’m not convinced that it will provide enough students to make a large difference for the school district. I come from a very large family with many nieces and nephews in their 20’s-40’s, and they are having children at less than half the rate of their parents. The drop in birth rate in both Wisconsin and the country bear out my own experience. Between college debt, low wages, roll back of the social safety net, lack of faith in the economy, and fears of the effects of global warming, young people don’t have the security to have children, and no amount of TIF money will solve this problem.

Should the KPW increase the number of students appreciably, the rest of the taxpayers will pay for these students education since the KPW property taxes would be used to pay off the TIF.

The developer knew the problems with this site from the start, and it is not the city’s responsibility to insure that he makes a profit. Capitalism is supposed to involve risk. If the Stoughton city council approves this TIF, every developer that comes to Stoughton will demand more of the same.

John Hallinan

City of Stoughton