Posted September 05, 2018 09:11:18Real estate investment firms have long been a hot commodity for government officials, with the government giving millions in loans and grants to help start or expand small businesses and build infrastructure.
The Wisconsin Real Estate Investment Board, a quasi-governmental agency, has been one of the few government agencies that has been able to make tax-exempt investments since it was created in 2012.
The agency is responsible for paying off debts and helping homeowners refinance their mortgages, while also making tax-free purchases and helping to grow the economy through tourism and the sale of real estate.
The board’s tax-exemption program is part of a broader effort to expand tax-deferred housing loans to all Wisconsin residents.
Last year, the board approved a $1.6 million loan to a Milwaukee woman to purchase her house for $900,000, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The bank, which has also made loan guarantees to a retired businessman, has not yet repaid the loan, and the bank has not responded to questions from The Associated Press about whether it has received the money from the state.
State Sen. Jim Knezek, R-Tucson, a board member, told the Journal Sentinel that his office did not have any money for the loan.
The loan was made possible by a $10 million grant the bank received from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in 2019, Knezyk said.
The $7.8 million loan was part of the board’s 2016 budget, which included a $3 million tax credit for the first year of tax-deductible investments, according to a statement from the agency.
The program was created after lawmakers voted in 2019 to extend the state’s “Wisconsin Credit Guarantee Program.”
Under the program, banks get tax-sheltered funds to help fund investments in Wisconsin homes, apartments and other properties.
The state also provides incentives to banks to sell properties at lower prices and offer loan guarantees for homebuyers who do not qualify for those tax-advantaged programs.
The amount of money a bank gets from the program varies, with banks getting $15 million in 2017, $20 million in 2018 and $25 million in 2019.
Kneziek said the agency was not required to disclose how much money was saved from the tax credit.
The program has been popular with homeowners and real estate investors, who are eager to get into the game, Kanezyk and others said.
In 2018, the bank was awarded $1 million in tax-favored investments for a home sale in Wisconsin, according the agency’s website.
In 2019, the agency received $3.2 million in loan guarantees from the bank.
In 2016, the Wisconsin Real estate Investment Board received $5.3 million in state and local tax credits.
In 2017, the state received $9.2, the same amount as in 2018, Kneezyk wrote in a letter to the Legislature.
The bank did not respond to a request for comment.
The company’s founder, James Knez, has said that the money earned from the loan was not intended to help finance a home purchase.
He said he expects to recoup the loan from the federal government through a state property tax deduction and the sales tax.
“It was meant to be used to help the state of Wisconsin build our infrastructure, to help make it a more competitive and efficient market, and to help us compete against the big cities,” Knezi said.