MacIver News Service | October 17, 2013[Madison, Wisc…] The Wisconsin Assembly passed four special session bills on Thursday tied to property tax relief, three of which are now headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature, while one is stalled in the Senate.
Governor Walker called for the special session last week mainly to take $100 million of budget surplus and put it towards property tax relief. Under the Special Session Senate Bill 1, the state will invest $100 million more in the school equalization aid formula, which will lower the amount of property taxes for local homeowners. The bill passed 82-12.
“We all know it’s not always easy to make ends meet in a family budget; every dollar counts,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). “When you combine this property tax cut with the other cuts we’ve enacted these past two sessions, I’m proud to say we’re providing residents statewide with roughly $1.5 billion in tax relief.”
Democrats argued that the special session bill would do nothing to help the average homeowner.
Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) said, “This tax reduction will still result in a net property tax increase on the average home over last year.”
Democrats introduced a substitute amendment that would have repealed the Republican plan and instead appropriated the money to the budget stabilization fund. Their substitute amendment also would have accepted federal Medicaid expansion funding, increased the First Dollar Credit by $100 million, and indexed the homestead tax credit to inflation. That amendment failed.
Two of the other special session bills relate to the creation of tax incremental districts in Waukesha and Kenosha Counties.
The last special session bill would increase the supplement to tax credits for historic property rehabilitation.
The State Senate voted on the special session bills on Tuesday, passing all of them except the historic rehabilitation tax credit. That bill was tabled. The Senate will not be on the floor again until next month.
The Governor is expected to sign the first three special session bill before next week.