Fiscal Bureau Confirms Property Tax Cuts Under Walker Budget

MacIver Budget Blog | April, 2015

The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released a memo on Tuesday breaking down the potential property tax situation over the next few years if Gov. Scott Walker’s budget passes as is. The budget proposal calls for increasing the school district levy credit by $211 million over the biennium, a move that the governor says will save the average property taxpayer about $5 a year.

LFB estimates basically confirm the governor’s assertion. A median-valued home would see their property tax bill decrease by $8 in 2016 and by another $3 in 2017.

The memo also shows that property tax bills for 2015 are expected to be $94 lower for the average property owner. That comes from the continuation of the $406 million partial state buyout of the technical college system passed a year ago.

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It is noteworthy that property taxes have continued their downward trend despite rising property values since the end of the recession. This means that property tax reductions have countered year-over-year value growth and then some, leading to lower bills.

A look back at the historical trajectory of property taxes in Wisconsin paints an impressive picture for Governor Walker.

The average property tax bill on a median-valued home will have decreased by $141 by 2016, a sharp turn from the previous trajectory. Should the governor get his tax relief wishes, local property tax levies as a share of personal income will reach the lowest levels in at least the past four administrations.

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In other news, a deal on the Bucks arena may be reached within a week as state, local and Bucks leaders intend to meet throughout the next few days to hopefully land at an agreement. Walker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday that he is optimistic and that his “jock tax” bonding proposal is not dead.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) signaled that the City of Milwaukee and/or Milwaukee County may have to ante up for a deal to go through. That could put Mayor Barrett in a tight situation considering the city’s other new and expensive project, the streetcar.

As the budget process continues, we will provide updates as they are available. Check back often for the most up to date information.