Friday, November 27, 2009

Milwaukee To Boost Tax Bill for Big Billboard

By switching to the income method to determine property tax assessments for billboards, the City of Milwaukee is expected to raise an additional $1.2 million in revenue from the two largest billboard operators in the city, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Clear Channel, which has over 800 billboards in the city, is likely to see its tax bill jump from just over $100,000 last year to over $1.1 million this year under the new method. Lamar Advertising's bill would increase from $82,000 to $320,000- a nearly 300% increase.

Clear Channel has filed suit to challenge Milwaukee's new assessment method, but the city believes a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision involving a similar case in the city of Madison gives the city an ample basis to use the income approach.

Expect more cities to follow the lead of Milwaukee by seeking increased revenues from an industry that would not exist without public investment in roads.

1 comment:

  1. The billboard companies fight tooth and nail against tax assessments that account for the value of anything other than the structure itself, but if one of their billboards has to be removed for a highway widening or other public works project, they will seek millions in compensation based on the value of the sign as a 'revenue' generator. This is a classic case of wanting it both ways, and hopefully governments will point that out in defending against these inevitable lawsuits.