A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum calls the long-term financial outlook for the city of Racine “worrisome.”
This comes as the city and surrounding areas prepare for the arrival of Foxconn, which promises to bring thousands of jobs to the area as the Taiwanese company builds out its high-tech manufacturing campus.
The presence of Foxconn is seen as a mixed bag by report authors. More workers means an increased tax base and higher revenues, but service demands are only expected to increase.
Report authors say this situation presents a big opportunity for the city to live up to its economic potential. But to do so it will need to enhance its attractiveness to developers and to the thousands of residents looking to fill the jobs expected along with Foxconn.
“A critical factor will be the capacity of Racine’s city government to provide the public services and public infrastructure that developers and potential new residents will be seeking,” they wrote.
Among the issues listed in the report is budget solvency — a longstanding problem for Racine, report authors say. General fund revenue growth has been sluggish — 3.3 percent from 2012 to 2016 — and has led to the loss of 46 full-time positions, putting pressure on department operations.
The report notes Racine had substantial growth in debt service, which led to a “heavy property tax burden” for local residents. Read the full story here.