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The History and Purpose of Tax Increment Finance Policy in Wisconsin

Do Wisconsin Tax Increment Finance Districts Stimulate Growth in Real Estate Values? Do They Contribute to Sprawl?

Russell Kashian, Mark Skidmore, and David Merriman

May 2007, English

Like other U.S. states, tax increment financing (TIF) is an important component of the development policy landscape in Wisconsin. While the guidelines for the use of TIF are similar to those that exist in other states, some aspects of TIF policy are unique to Wisconsin. The purpose of this report is to provide a concise summary of the history and purpose of tax increment financing (TIF) in Wisconsin. The report discusses TIF in relation to controversies about sprawl, representative government, fairness to poor communities and municipal competition. This report provides important background information for those interested in evaluating the impacts of TIF on factors such property value growth and land use.


Development, Economic Development, Land Use, Local Government, Public Finance, Public Policy, Tax Increment Financing