PILOTs: What Are They and Are They Affected by Institutional and/or Economic Constraints? The Case of Wisconsin Municipalities
Keywords:Tax and Expenditure Limitations (TELs), Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs), Local Government Finance
Following the rise of tax and expenditure limitations in the 1970s, scholars have focused on assessing the effects of these limitations on local government fiscal outcomes. One key takeaway has been local governments’ decreasing reliance on property taxes and increased use of nontax revenue sources, in particular fees and changes. This study builds on this work by focusing on a particular type of fee—that is, payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs). We find that, in Wisconsin, revenues received by municipalities from two PILOTs programs are affected quite differently. The extent to which the economy, municipal fiscal condition, tax and expenditure limits, and community characteristics affect PILOTs’ revenues depends on the extent to which the municipality can manipulate the payment structure.
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