Property Taxpayers United for Fairness and Reform Since 1985
3rd Quarter 2015
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WPT Ag Report
AG News Archives and previous news articles that matter to our members.
On February 3, 2015, Governor Walker delivered his budget address.
• Budget in Brief READ
• 2015-17 Executive Budget (Complete Document) READ
• About the Budget Documents READ
• How to Read the 2015-17 Executive Budget READ
• Statewide Budget and Position Summaries READ
Although Wisconsin finished its budget on July 12, it was one of six states that had not enacted a budget by July 1. As of July 20, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania were still awaiting budgets for FY 2016. Of states with budgets in place, three enacted biennial budgets during 2014. (source: NCSL)
Official Web sites of various state offices and agencies
Wisconsin in U.S. Congress
Senate: Ron Johnson
Senate: Tammy Baldwin
District 1: Paul Ryan
District 2: Mark Pocan
District 3: Ron Kind
District 4: Gwen Moore
District 5: Jim Sensenbrenner
District 6: Glenn Grothman
District 7: Sean Duffy
District 8: Reid Ribble
Governor, Executive Branch
*an interactive almanac
of U.S. politics
New IoH law makes 20 changes
The bill makes more than 20 adjustments to the Implements of Husbandry (IOH) law, including:
• Clarifies in state statute that IOH with rubber tracks can legally operate on Wisconsin roadways.
• To alleviate the potential issuance of thousands of permits across the state, it authorizes an IOH or (agricultural commercial motor vehicle) Ag-CMV being legally operated with a permit to cross any intersecting highway under the jurisdiction of the maintaining authority that issued the permit.
• Provides the same weight, length, width and height limitations for transporting IOH by trailer or semitrailer from farm-to-farm, from field-to-field, or from farm-to-field to the same extent as if the IOH were being operated on the roadway.
• The special axle weight exemption given to Category B planting, tillage, cultivating and harvesting IOH is also given to Ag-CMVs that directly distribute feed to livestock, or directly apply fertilizer, lime, spray or seeds, but not manure, to a farm field.
• Ag-CMVs that have the capability to directly apply manure to a field, but are unable to due to field conditions, will be able to park on a road and off-load the manure to another piece of equipment for application, and still retain Ag-CMV status.
Earlier this month the State Senate and State Assembly unanimously approved Assembly Bill 113.
Who We Are
and What We Do
Wisconsin Property Taxpayers, Inc. (WPT)
is the voice of Wisconsin’s property taxpayers in the State Capitol, working to reduce the statewide property tax burden and reform Wisconsin’s antiquated and regressive property tax system.
Founded in 1985, WPT represents the interests of thousands of commercial, agricultural and residential property taxpayers throughout the state who volunteer their financial support and personal commitment to the organization and its objectives.
WPT is the only statewide taxpayers’ organization registered with the Ethics Division of the State’s Government Accountability Board to lobby exclusively for property tax relief and reform.
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WPT’s experienced government relations specialists, field representatives and technical support staff conduct a variety of activities including legislative analysis, policy and opinion research, media relations, public information and legislative liaison service, to increase public and legislative support for the organization’s public policy objectives.
WPT regularly communicates with members through personal contact, newsletters, member surveys, policy briefs and legislative action alerts.
WPT assists members in dealing with local property tax issues and answers members’ questions related to assessments, property tax exemptions, state laws and administrative rules, and provides information useful in appealing and reducing their property tax liability.
For more information about who we are, what we do, and what we have helped to accomplish over the years, go here
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Capitol Report along with other
3rd QTR Newsletter will be in production next week!
2015 1st Quarter
WPT Newsletters are published
4 times a year, and are mailed directly to our members. To view previous editions and other publications in our Media archive click the link below.
Wisconsin Property Taxes
You can choose any county from our list of Wisconsin counties for detailed information on that county's property tax, and the contact information for the county tax assessor's office.
DOR Guides for Property Taxpayers
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2015 Assessors Guide for
Go here PDF
WPT is the voice of Wisconsin’s Property Taxpayers, your voice, in the Wisconsin State Legislature. Whether you have a comment, a thought to share, a question about your assessment or property tax bill, how your property tax dollars are spent, what’s going on in the Legislature, or any of a thousand property tax related questions we answer for our members, WPT wants to hear from you.
If you are not a member, but would like to join the thousands of taxpayers
around the state who support
and rely on us to protect their
interests in the Legislature
click on the “Join Us Now!”
to get started.
WPT Legislative Director
the last day of August, although much of the state is about to endure a bit of a warm up in the temperature.
John Jacobson (L), WPT's Legislative Director &
Bert Vosters (R) WPT's AG Members Representative
Last week, WPT, Inc. spent the week at Farm Tech Days at the Statz Bros. Farm in Sun Prairie. Though it was a bit chilly on Tuesday and Wednesday, that didn't stop countless families from making their way through the enormous Tent City to check out our state's agricultural ingenuity.
WPT was quite busy at Farm Tech Days too! We had tons of members stop by to say hello, and many new people interested in the mission of our organization stopped by to explain their flawed property assessment stories, or share their ideas on how to grow small business. Also, a few lucky names were drawn from our membership raffle and will be joining the WPT family for the next year!
Below, you'll find some interesting articles from around the state. I hope you find the information useful. We invite you to share your thoughts on any of the pieces below. Just visit the member comments section of our website, and share your perspective.
I wish you all a productive and blessed week, and hope you'll be in touch if you have any questions or comments!
Farm Tech Days Drawing Winners
Congratulations to our winners! You won a complimentary one year membership with WPT valued at $100!
Tuesday, August 25th
12PM Drawing Eric Speckher of Sparta
5PM Drawing Sam Stressep Sr. of La Crosse
Wednesday, August 26th
12PM Drawing Roxanne Lots of Chetek
5pm Drawing John Shefer of Bark Road
Thursday, August 27th
12PM Drawing Gerald Boelter of Markesan
5PM Drawing Jim Becker of Cty Rd Q
Please call John with your questions regarding your one year membership at 608-255-7473 or drop him an email at email@example.com
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. —Thomas Jefferson
We are involved in everything that affects our members’ property tax burden. Some of the articles below may take you from WPTonline. Simply click your back browser to return.
State showing signs of economic recovery
Business and consumer spending boosted the national economy by 3.7% in Q2 according to data released Thursday.
Among the industries showing growth were construction, mining, and natural resources, which were up 1.4%. According to the MMAC Monthly Economic Trends report, 16 of 23 southeastern Wisconsin indicators showed improvements.
Nationally, business investment was the largest upward driver for the Q2 GDP gains- showing stronger readings on inventories, development, construction, and research.
Unexpected tax revenue collections boost state revenue projections
Wisconsin's general fund saw a slight boost due to unexpected corporate tax revenue collections last fiscal year.
General fund taxes, comprised of income, sales, corporate, utility, insurance, tobacco and alcohol taxes, collected about $14.5 billion in the '14-'15 fiscal year, which ended June 30th. Those estimates show about a $71 million increase from earlier projections. A report from the State Journal says that corporate tax are generally the most volatile, often hard to project.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects that the state's general fund will continue to increase by about 4% in each of the next two years.
Looks like more property tax for Wausau residents
A gaping hole in Wausau's accounting could lead to residents and businesses suffering higher taxation- to the tune of $2.6 million.
As the city finance committee commits to "brainstorming" to find solutions, they acknowledge that a new way of doing business is needed for the future of the city.
Closing Tax Incremental Districts (TID) is one way the city is exploring filling their fiscal pit, but is being met with opposition by Christian Shock, the Economic Development Manager. Decisions on closing the TID do not have to be made until May 2016- which will undoubtedly mean that no solutions will come any time soon.
Increases in personnel costs and expiring grants will lead to an increase of about $700,000 in the Wausau Police Department budget.
Immigration discussions impact Wisconsin farmers
According to a past UW-Madison study, immigrants make up a large portion of the farm workforce.
With the Republican primary heating up, and immigration often dominating the discussion, Wisconsin farmers are playing close attention, according to a WISC-TV story last week.
Lloyd Holterman, owner of Rosy Lane Holsteins, a 1000 cow dairy in southern Wisconsin, says he'd like to see the candidates focus more on a guest worker program rather than deportation. More than half of his employees are immigrant workers.
WPT wants to hear your thoughts on this story. Do you agree? Share your thoughts in our member comments section.
BIG news for Fox Valley, state as Oshkosh Corp. wins potential $30 billion bid for defense contact
Among the Wisconsin companies making our state proud over the past week, Oshkosh Corp. was awarded a $6.7 billion contract from the US Army to manufacture the Humvee replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, for the United States Military.
Beating out both Lockheed Martin and AM General for the contract, Oshkosh Corp CEO Charlie Szews called the win "a historic day for the company, for the city of Oshkosh and for the state of Wisconsin."
Check out this incredible video from Oshkosh Defense.
Average 30 year mortgage rates drop to lowest levels since May
Turmoil in global markets sent average long-term mortgage rates to 3.84% this week.
Freddie Mac, the nation's leading mortgage market firm, said the market fell from 3.93% just the week prior, its lowest since May.
A week ago, the brief 1,000 point drop in the Dow scared investors around the nation resulted in panic selling, and sent investors to the "safety of U.S. government bonds," according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.
Overall, steady job growth and low mortgage rates in the United states have improved home sales.
Capitol Report 2015
3rd Quarter | August
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In the mean time enjoy reading the 2015 2nd QTR Newsletter here.
How Property Taxes Work
August 1, 2011 04:18 PM ITEP
The property tax is the oldest major revenue source for state and local governments. At the beginning of the twentieth century, property taxes represented more than eighty percent of state and local tax revenue. While this share has diminished over time as states have introduced sales and income taxes, the property tax remains an important mechanism for funding education and other local services. This policy brief discusses why property is taxed and how property taxes are calculated.
Why Tax Property?
The property tax is rooted largely in the “benefits principle” of taxation. Under this view, the property tax essentially functions as a user-charge on local residents for the benefits they receive from the local policies funded by property taxes. These policies benefit local residents directly in the form of better schools and fire protection, and indirectly in the form of increased housing values.
The property tax also helps differentiate between families of very different means by taxing families with large quantities of wealth more heavily than those without such reserves. But the impact that property taxes can have on low-income families, and particularly the elderly, makes clear that the linkage of the property tax to the ability-to-pay principle is far from perfect.
Finally, the stability and enforceability of the property tax make it among the best options available for providing local governments with a predictable revenue stream that can be used to fund indispensable services like schools, roads, and public safety.
How Property Taxes Work
Historically, property taxes applied to two kinds of property: real property, which includes land and buildings, and personal property,
such as cars, boats,
and the value of
stocks and bonds.
Most states have
moved away from
property and now
primarily on real
In its simplest form, the real property tax is calculated by multiplying the value of land and buildings by the tax rate. Property tax rates are normally expressed in mills. A mill is one-tenth of one percent. In the most basic system, an owner of a property worth $100,000 that is subject to a 25 mill (that is, 2.5 percent) tax rate would pay $2,500 in property taxes. In reality, however, property taxes are often more complicated than this. The first step in the property tax process is determining a property’s value for tax purposes. In most cases, this means estimating the property’s market value, the amount the property would likely sell for.
The second step is determining the property’s assessed value, its value for tax purposes. This is done by multiplying the property’s market value by an assessment ratio, which is a percentage ranging from zero to one hundred. Many states base their taxes upon actual market value—in other words, these states use a 100 percent assessment ratio. A significant number of states, however, assess property at only a fraction of its actual value. New Mexico assesses homes at 33.3 percent of their market value, and Arkansas uses a 20 percent assessment ratio. Some states place a cap on increases in a home’s assessed value in any given year, which in many cases can lead to vastly different assessment ratios among similarly valued homes (For more detail, see ITEP Brief, “Capping Assessed Valuation Growth: A Primer”). And even when the law says properties should be assessed at 100 percent of their value, local assessors at times systematically under-assess property, reporting assessed values that are substantially less than the real market value of the property.
After the assessment ratio has been factored in, many states reduce a property’s assessed value further by allowing exemptions. The most common type of exemption is referred to as a “homestead exemption.” In Ohio, for example, the state allows an exemption for the first $25,000 of home value. Subtracting all exemptions yields the taxable value of a property. (For more on homestead exemptions, see ITEP Brief, “Property Tax Homestead Exemptions”).
The next step in the process is applying a property tax rate, also known as a millage rate, to the property’s taxable value. The millage rate is usually the sum of several tax rates applied by several different jurisdictions: for example, one property might be subject to a municipal tax, a county tax, and a school district tax. This calculation yields the tentative property tax before credits.
Many states allow property tax credits that either directly reduce the property tax bill, or that reimburse part of the property tax bill separately when taxpayers apply for them. Subtracting these credits is the final step in calculating one’s property tax bill—though taxpayers are often required to pay the pre-credit property tax amount, only to later have the amount of the credit refunded to them. (For more detail on one type of property tax credit, see ITEP brief, “Property Tax Circuit Breakers”).
Other Property Tax Issues
While property taxes on owner-occupied homes tend to receive the most attention, the presence (or absence) of tax on other forms of property also has important implications.
Businesses pay property taxes just like local residents. Property taxes on businesses are mostly borne by business owners. Business property taxes generally make the property tax less regressive, since business owners tend to be wealthier than average.
Property taxes also impact taxpayers who rent, rather than own their home. This is because owners of rental real estate pass through some of their tax liability to renters in the form of higher rents. The impact of property taxes on renters is of particular concern because renters tend to be significantly less well-off than their homeowner neighbors.
Non-profit entities are generally exempt from state and local property taxes. While these exemptions can make it easier for these organizations to pursue their missions, it can mean that local governments have difficulty raising the revenue needed to provide quality public services. This issue is most significant in areas with large non-profit hospitals and/or universities. PDF
Read it online!
News updates August 31, 2015
News from the Capitol and around Wisconsin
I hope your weekend was enjoyable, and that you were able to spend some quality time with your kids before they head back to school today! It is hard to believe it is