Thanks for contacting us. Governor Doyle did grant a State tax exemption for the Administration Building and the Tower. There is a state law which provides tax exemptions for architecturally significant historic buildings in Wisconsin. The tax exemption is estimated to be $40,000 for the Administration Building and the Tower. However, and very importantly, the new building that we are constructing will provide an estimated $166, 942 in incremental taxes for Racine.
Annually, more than 4,500 visitors from around the world visit our campus and these buildings to tour them and the amount of visitors is expected to grow with our new building. (Please note this number is just the people who take tours and not the people from companies who may call on SCJ for business purposes.) SCJ since the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings were constructed, have painstakingly kept these buildings in pristine condition which is a challenging job. The company spends more than $3.2 million each year for upkeep (new roof, new facades, etc.) This figure does not include maintenance which would be significantly more.
The upkeep on these buildings is done so that the public and our employees can enjoy the beauty and splendor of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings as well as project a wonderful image of Racine to the world. It’s also important to note that the upkeep is contracted out to local businesses that in turn employ people in our community.
Where there may be confusion which is unfortunate, is that prior to SCJ applying for this state tax exemption, Mayor Becker had notified SCJ about his vision for the redevelopment of Uptown and his desire for a TIF to help fund the redevelopment. The state tax exemption and the city’s Uptown TIF are two separate issues with two separate governmental entities – for example the Mayor doesn't rule on a state tax exemption.
As a matter of fact, the incremental taxes for the new building of $166,942 will be assigned to the Uptown TIF for 14 years. And, Fisk, after hearing about the Mayor’s vision for the redevelopment of Uptown gave a donation of $500,000 from the company towards the Uptown redevelopment effort. This TIF donation is very consistent with our donations in many, many parts of this community.
I hope you can set the record straight.
May 8, 2009
SC Johnson's response
SC Johnson responded by email this evening to our stories about the company's Administration Building and Research Tower being tax exempt. Spokeswoman Kelly Semrau clarified some numbers and noted SC Johnson's new buildings will contribute $166,942 to Uptown's TIF district. Here's Semerau's response: