: Taxation Law Section Requests Amicus Curiae Brief:

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    Taxation Law Section Requests Amicus Curiae Brief

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    (Metropolitan Associates, LP v. City of Milwaukee, Appeal No. 2009AP000524)

    Jan. 20, 2010 – Pursuant to Article VII, Section 2(a) of the State Bar of Wisconsin Bylaws, the Taxation Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin has submitted a request to the Board of Governors for authorization to file an amicus curiae brief in the pending Wisconsin Supreme Court case of Metropolitan Associates, LP v. City of Milwaukee, Appeal No. 2009AP000524.

    The issue in Metropolitan Associates is whether 2007 Wisconsin Act 86 violates the Equal Protection clause of the Wisconsin Constitution when it allows a municipality to adopt an ordinance that effectively eliminates a non-manufacturing taxpayer’s option to seek a de novo judicial review of property tax assessments, so long as the municipality provides the taxpayer with a right to defer the taxpayer’s scheduled board of review hearing by 60 days.

    The Supreme Court is being called upon to decide whether the Court of Appeals decision (to reverse the Circuit Court and uphold the constitutionality of Act 86) conflicts with the Supreme Court’s decision in Nankin v. Village of Shorewood, 2001 WI 92, 245 Wis. 2d 86, 630 N.W.2d 141.  In Nankin, the Court struck down, on equal protection grounds, a statutory provision that specifically denied property owners in counties with a population of 500,000 or more (Milwaukee County) the same right enjoyed by other property taxpayers to seek a de novo review by the circuit court of their property tax assessments.  Rather, the statute provided that Milwaukee County property taxpayers (but not those of other municipalities) were limited to a certiorari review of their property tax assessments following a decision by the board of review.

    Act 86 creates the same sort of disparity among taxpayers that the Court rejected in Nankin—some taxpayers in Wisconsin will continue to enjoy the right to a de novo judicial review of their property tax assessments while other taxpayers in Wisconsin (those located in municipalities that have adopted the Act 86 ordinance) will be limited to a modified procedure that lies somewhere between a traditional certiorari review and a de novo review.  With Act 86, the Legislature appears to have simply delegated to each one of Wisconsin’s 1,850 taxation districts the same power that the Supreme Court denied it.

    The issues before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in this care are appropriate for the Taxation Section’s involvement.  The subject matter of the case falls squarely within the field of expertise of the Taxation Law Section.  Members of the section deal with local with complex taxation issues on a frequent basis.  The decision by the Court could have significant consequences for practitioners as well as the parties that they represent. 

    If you have any questions or comments please send them to: org pubaffairs wisbar wisbar pubaffairs org by Monday, February 15th. Or contact Cale Battles, Taxation Law Section Government Relations Coordinator at (608) 250-6077.

    Petition for Review
    Court of Appeals Decision – September 9, 2009
    Circuit Court Case No. 08CV009866 – Jan. 20, 2009


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