Bill protects Barron family against penalty for good deed
MADISON - Bob and Karen Schauf might have learned there is some truth to the proverb that no good deed goes unpunished. The Barron County couple donated land for construction of a public safety communication tower, a move that might have cost the...
MADISON - Bob and Karen Schauf might have learned there is some truth to the proverb that no good deed goes unpunished.
The Barron County couple donated land for construction of a public safety communication tower, a move that might have cost them $34,000 in taxes if not for legislation adopted by the state Legislature.
State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Mary Hubler, D-Rice Lake, said today the legislature to protect the couple was adopted in a day, and will provide important economic protection for the family that thought they were doing a good deed for the community.
The legislation will create an exception from the managed forest act to waive a penalty if a small parcel of property is withdrawn for public safety purposes.
Last year, the lawmakers were contacted by Barron County, which sought their assistance to protect local landowners facing a significant economic penalty because they had offered their land for the placement of a public safety communication tower. They introduced the legislation to create an exemption from managed forest law penalties if the property is used for a public safety tower.
"Due to withdrawal requirements local property owners who offered their property for public benefit were facing a $34,000 tax bill simply because they were serving the public good," Jauch said. "This legislation carves out a simple exemption to assure that this family will not get squeezed because they were good neighbors."
"Bob and Karen Schauf were trying to do a good thing for the county and the public. The Legislature recognized that they shouldn't be punished for it," said Hubler, a Barron County resident.
Participants under the managed forest act are required to maintain the timber on the property in exchange for reduced property taxes. It was determined that under state law the withdrawal of the Schauf property would result in a substantial penalty. The lawmakers introduced a statute that acknowledges the limited public purpose of a withdrawal for public safety.
The two lawmakers said the expedited passage by both houses on the same day demonstrates the Legislature's recognition of the importance of the bill. They both expressed gratitude to their colleagues for their swift action to help Barron County citizens and to offer a tool that just may be necessary for others around the state.
The bill was provided prompt consideration and was adopted by both houses Tuesday. The Legislation will be sent to the Governor who is expected to sign the bill into law.