Back when Wauwatosa provided a TIF to build infrastructure to facilitate the GE health care research facility in the city, Milwaukee County agreed to guarantee the TIF loan in case the project failed.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Unlikely, and not needed, as things turned out: GE is a going concern, to put it mildly.
Now comes UWM seeking $12 million in TIF (tax incremental financing) loans to UWM and a private developer who would build an engineering school and related and private-sector "innovation center" on the County Grounds.
Again, the $12 million would pay for infrastructure, and the full court press for the subsidy is on.
I can't imagine Tosa seeking a County guarantee in this case, but other communities in the county should be mindful of the possibility, because Milwaukee County right now doesn't have two spare nickels to rub together.
And if the project didn't produce through additional taxes the funds needed to pay off Tosa's loan - - officials say it will take 27 years, the maximum time frame allowed by state law - - and if there was a County guarantee, then taxpayers in all the other County municipalities would pick up proportionate shares based on their percentage of the tax base in the County.
That would put City of Milwaukee taxpayers on the hook for about half any unpaid debt; Tosa, less than 10%.
Anyway: it's worth asking, especially since another can't-miss development with public subsidies by a big-name sponsor - - Harley-Davidson - - has just gone up in smoke.