Forward Janesville supports Blackhawk Tech referendum
JANESVILLE — Forward Janesville is endorsing Blackhawk Technical College's August referendum, the group announced in a written statement.
The group is a private economic development organization and chamber of commerce representing more than 500 businesses across south central Wisconsin, according to the written statement.
Blackhawk Technical College wants permission to exceed the school's operational levy limit by $4 million annually. The question will be taken to voters Tuesday, Aug. 12.
“Blackhawk Technical College has been an active partner of the south central Wisconsin business community,” said the group in the written statement. “A successful referendum will allow the college to grow and evolve along with the area business community, while a failed referendum could mean a diminished level of workforce development activity and significant personnel and program cuts.”
The referendum, if approved, would allow BTC to permanently increase the school's local funding by $4 million a year.
The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corp. also endorsed the referendum.
“The college has implemented significant cost cutting measures,” said the written statement from Forward Janesville. “These cost cutting measures include increases in employee contributions to health care and retirement accounts, the elimination of various instructional and administrative support positions and program eliminations. Blackhawk Technical College currently has the lowest operating costs per student of all technical colleges in Wisconsin. We support the college's continued efforts to be fiscally responsible.”
The referendum comes on the heels of Act 145, which sends $406 million in additional state aid to technical colleges to reduce property taxes. The act does not provide more money, just a change in where the school's funding comes from, according to BTC officials.
Taxpayers would see an overall decrease in taxes paid to the technical college regardless of whether the referendum passes because of the increase in state aid, officials said.
If the referendum passes, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $51 a year.
If the referendum fails, taxes paid to Blackhawk Tech on a $100,000 house would drop about $88 a year.