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Evers signs bill increasing Opportunity Zone benefits, others related to construction

Gov. Tony Evers has signed into law a handful of bills touching on the construction industry, including one that would double the tax benefit for investments in federal Opportunity Zones.

Assembly Bill 532, one of more than 60 bills in total signed by Evers on Tuesday, pertains to federal Opportunity Zones, which are meant to encourage development in Census tracts with low-income populations. The bill signed by Evers would allow investors in Wisconsin opportunity zones to defer or even avoid state income and franchise taxes on their investments, just as they now can do with federal capital gains taxes. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has estimated the legislation will end up costing the state $4.5 million in lost tax revenue between the state’s 2025 and 2027 fiscal years, according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Wisconsin has 120 Opportunity Zones.

Also on Tuesday, Evers signed:

  • Senate Bill 351, which will prevent contractors that plan to work outside Wisconsin on specific sorts of project from having to pay sales taxes on equipment that’s temporarily stored in state. To qualify for the exemption, contractors can have property stored in Wisconsin for no more than 120 days for use in out-of-state projects related to public schools, nonprofit groups or business districts that are receiving public support. The bill is meant to help Wisconsin contractors compete across state lines. Wisconsin companies now have to pay a 5% sales tax on gear that’s stored in state for eventual use in out-of-state projects.
  • Assembly Bill 344, which will give telephone companies a tax break on property used to extend broadband service to rural areas. Telecom companies say it’s often too costly to build broadband networks in such places. This legislation will help ease the financial pressure by offering a break on property taxes owed on broadband equipment.

Editor’s note: This story’s description of SB 351 has been corrected to state the legislation deals with property stored in Wisconsin temporarily for out-of-state projects.

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