Wisconsin’s premier telecommunications industry association applauds last night’s unanimous, bipartisan Senate floor vote in support of Assembly Bill 344 (AB 344). The Senate voted 33-0 in support of legislation to incentivize rural broadband deployment through targeted tax exemptions for investments in rural or underserved communities.
Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Cameron) authored AB 344 and the companion bill, Senate Bill 321. The legislation creates property tax exemptions for telephone company property used to provide broadband service to a rural or underserved area. Unlike most Wisconsin property taxes, which are paid to local governments, the telephone company property tax is paid to the state. Because the telephone company property tax is collected by the state, there is no fiscal impact on local governments.
The policy in AB 344 will complement existing state and federal programs focused on broadband deployment. In the 2019-2021 Biennial Budget, the Legislature approved and Governor Evers signed an historic increase in funding for the Broadband Expansion Grant Program.