Wisconsin Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) is sponsoring a package of five foreclosure-related bills to address the state's ongoing housing issues. The number of bank-related foreclosures in Milwaukee declined this year compared to last, but the city is still seeing tax-based foreclosures.
Its 2014 budget includes $11.7 million in spending for Mayor Tom Barrett's Strong Neighborhoods Investment Plan, which calls for the demolition of hundreds of dilapidated homes and the sale of as many as 350 city-owned foreclosed homes. Goyke's bundle of proposals include a realtor incentive, which would encourage real estate agents to sell properties with a foreclosure judgment and a sale value of less than $50,000 by removing income tax reporting requirements for the commission income earned by an agent. Another component would require a plaintiff filing a foreclosure action to post a demolition bond of $15,000, to be held by the clerk of courts in each county. Another bill would increase the filing fee that the plaintiff in a foreclosure filing must pay to initiate the lawsuit, with the extra money used to install lighting on existing abandoned homes.
Gov. Scott Walker has pledged $2 million in state funding from the Department of Financial Institutions to help Milwaukee deal with vacant homes, and one of Goyke's proposed bills would allocate another $2 million in state funds to match. Yet another would give municipalities and lending institutions the right to enter foreclosed properties and address any possible problems.