Property Taxpayers United for Fairness and Reform Since 1985
3rd Quarter 2014
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What our members say
I recently was called by Terry Mulville representing Wisconsin Property Taxpayers. I am delighted to say Terry is the most professional person I have ever had visit me for this organization.
Well read, well informed, easy to talk “with” always listening when he should be and staying on track. Very much a businessman and pleasant to converse with. Hope he stays on.
Manitowoc Motor Machining
May 2, 2014 to
Jan. 5, 2015
Bills sent to Governor
June 4, 2015
Property Tax Bill Estimates Under January 2014 Special Session Proposal Read Here
2013-15 and 2015-17 General Fund Budget Under January 2014 Special Session Bills Read Here
Distributional Information on Proposed Individual Income Tax Rate Reduction Read Here
Wisconsin Alternative Minimum Tax and January 2014 Special Session Bills Read Here
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: Tom Petri
District 7: Sean Duffy
District 8: Reid Ribble
Governor, Executive Branch
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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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Independence day celebration at Governor Walker's residence on Lake Mendota.
Thank you for joining us
at the Wisconsin
Farm Technology Days!
James Borchardt of Edgar
David Dorn of Kewaskum
John Guzek of Green Bay
Joe Koshler of Chilton
Mark Nellessen of Rosholt
Cheri Zimmerman of Grand Marsh
Congratulations! We are excited
to have you all on board!
By Ag Member Rep
I recently had the privilege of attending the 2014 Farm Technology Days representing WPT (Wisconsin Property Taxpayers) and it was enlightening in many arenas. I had an opportunity to spend some time with Mike Marsch (President of WPT) and Bert Vosters (Sales Manager of WPT Agriculture) and they gave me a greater insight into the importance and value of what we do. This alone was a valuable learning experience. We had many people stop by our booth and they offered up their opinions. While the vast majorities believed in the principals that we believe in, there were a few that disagreed. Just another example of what a democracy is and the importance of freedom of speech. Many of the people that stopped by were already members of WPT, and many that weren’t expressed an interest in becoming supporters.
We handed out many Wisconsin Badger and Green Bay Packer schedules. It was surprising to me that so many people were looking for them and we were the first ones they found.
Overall, I think the event was a huge success. Attendance for the 2014 Farm Technology Days was reported to be just under 60,000 and from what I experienced, everyone enjoyed the event.
It’s great to be a part of an organization that is so positively accepted by it’s members.
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
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.
A former employee Julie Mathias, who was terminated for theft and submitting false sales reports continues to wreak havoc with our members by making false derogatory statements about WPT while selling memberships for National Write Your Congressman (NWYC). When I informed NWYC of Julie’s lies back in January of this year, they informed me that the problem was between Julie and WPT. It seems they don’t take responsibility for the actions of their independent contractors. From what I understand Julie has recently been terminated by NWYC, but many of our members feel they were maliciously lied to and duped into believing untruths about WPT and that Julie misrepresented the NWYC product. When they requested a full refund from NWYC, they were told they’d only be receiving a pro-rated refund.
On their behalf, I have contacted the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. I’ve been advised to write NWYC requesting a full refund for all of our members who desire to disassociate with NWYC. If NWYC does not respond affirmatively, our members will file a formal complaint with the Department of Justice. (DATCP)
If you want to be included in the letter to NWYC requesting a refund of your membership please let us know immediately.
Contact Mike Marsch, President @715-797-5622 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Wiseye.org Live Webcast AIR click here
10/20/14 Newsmakers: Transportation Fund Constitutional Change
On October 20, 2014 Senior Producer Steve Walters hosted a Newsmakers show on Transportation Fund Constitutional Change with Todd Berry and Craig Thompson. Watch
Senior Producer Steve Walters and WisPolitics Editor JR Ross recapped Wisconsin politics for the week of October 20-24 at the WisconsinEye Studios in Madison. Watch
9/3/2014 Legislative Council Steering Committee for Personal Property Tax Watch
Fall 2014 General Election
General Election -- Tuesday, November 4, 2014.
Partisan Primary -- Complete Results of the August 12th Primary
The most current lists are linked here. These lists reflect the ballot access decisions of the Government Accountability Board at its June 10, 2014 meeting.
PolitiFact Wisconsin is a partnership of the
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and PolitiFact.com, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Web site of the Tampa Bay Times, to help you find the truth in politics.
Every day, reporters and researchers from the Journal Sentinel examine statements by Wisconsin elected officials and candidates and anyone else who speaks up on matters of public importance. We research their statements and then rate the accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter
Capitol Report 2014
4rd Quarter | October
PDF use your back button to return
WPT Helping You Grow
Wisconsin’s Farm Economy.
Member's, if you haven't received
your 3rd QTR newsletter in the mail please contact us.
Our own Ag Member Representative Donovan Dolph - July 4th, 2014
These are our Farm Technology Days winners! They each will receive a 1 year Membership worth $200!
Madison | LIVE Webcast
Government Accountability Board Meeting
Democratic Assembly Candidate Says Public School Teachers Should Work For State
Dana Duncan, Running For 72nd District Seat, Said Move Could Relieve Local School Property Taxes
Monday, October 27, 2014, 3:55pm By Glen Moberg
During an appearance on the Wisconsin Public Radio talk show “Route 51” last Thursday, Democratic Assembly candidate Dana Duncan said that public school teachers should be paid by the state of Wisconsin, not by local school districts.
Duncan — who in addition to running for central Wisconsin's 72nd Assembly District seat, is also president of the Port Edwards School Board — said that making all K-12 public school teachers employees of the state could be a unique way to relieve local school property taxes.
“If we were to reclassify and make teachers state employees, then you're talking real property tax relief,” said Duncan.
He said that because the state would be paying the teachers, it would be forced to meet the traditional goal of two-thirds state funding for local schools. Duncan would also allow teachers to bargain collectively on a region-by-region basis.
“Go back to some form of a collective bargaining agreement by region. The western Wisconsin region — La Crosse and southwestern Wisconsin — has a little different economic situation than, say, Green Bay does,” said Duncan.
Duncan's opponent, Republican Assemblyman Scott Krug, is skeptical of the idea. He said the proposal would end local control of schools, and bloat the state budget.
“We have local school boards for a reason,” he said. “We like to have the local control in our local districts for them to make decisions based on what works in their individual areas. This just seems like it's one of those left-field proposals.”
The 72nd Assembly District covers parts of Adams, Wood and Portage counties.
Editor’s Note: With full disclosure, the author of this article, Glen Moberg, is the host of “Route 51.”
Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing to add 75 new jobs in Eau Claire
Posted: Mon 5:28 PM, Oct 27, 2014 By: Lindsay Alowairdi
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (RELEASE FROM WISCONSIN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION)-- MADISON, WI. Oct. 27, 2014 – In a project expected to create 75 new jobs over the next three years, Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing LLC is embarking on a $15 million upgrade of its operations in Eau Claire.
Dynamic Fabrication, which provides a wide array of services to manufacturers and OEM’s, is undertaking the project to accommodate growth in sales and to support its new fitness equipment product line. In addition to the capital investment, the company will spend more than $900,000 on job training for its employees.
“I applaud Dynamic Fabrication for making this level of investment in its operations as well as providing training to its workers,” said Governor Scott Walker. “A little more than three years after it was founded, Dynamic Fabrication is continuing to grow in Wisconsin, thanks in part to the assistance it is receiving from the state. This is just one example of how we’re helping early-stage companies throughout Wisconsin get to the next level.”
To help secure the new jobs, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has authorized Dynamic Fabrication to receive up to $1.1 million in tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of credits received will depend on the number of jobs created and the amount spent by the company on job training.
“This project is good news for Eau Claire and the entire region as it will help strengthen this growing company,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “Since 2012, WEDC has provided Eau Claire County companies with $3.8 million in awards that are expected to create or retain more than 800 jobs—and we are glad to be able to add Dynamic Fabrication to that list.”
“We are pleased to announce Dynamic is growing and adding new career opportunities,” said company President Jason Tambornino. “Equally exciting is the support provided from WEDC, which provides the catalyst to help aid in our growth by providing such programs. We look forward to working with WEDC, the city of Eau Claire, and our current and future associates during these exciting times.”
“The City is appreciative of WEDC's financial incentive, and its recognition of the importance of growing businesses in our part of the state,” said Eau Claire Common Council President Kerry Kincaid. “The entire region benefits from this business expansion and job creation. We look forward to working together with WEDC on many future economic development projects.”
Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing LLC was founded in 2011 as a start-up company specializing in contract steel fabrication, primarily sheet cutting and welding. In 2012, the company began growing its customer base, and added additional equipment and employees. In 2013, Dynamic began developing and manufacturing its own product line of fitness equipment. The company, which has about 50 employees, now designs, manufactures and sells strength products and storage systems specifically designed for the strength, fitness, and wellness industries.
Early voting numbers pace ahead of 2010 election
GAB: More than 90K voted early as of Monday
Author: Jessica Arp, email@example.com
Published On: Oct 27 2014 06:57:43 PM CDT
MADISON, Wis. - Enthusiasm seems to be driving early voting numbers to be ahead of what is typical in a midterm election.
Clerks are reporting higher than usual turnout despite hours being limited for the first time.
The city of Madison reported 4,179 people cast in-person absentee votes as of 3 p.m. Monday, pacing ahead of the total in-person absentee voting numbers in 2010 of 5,545.
The Waunakee clerk reported that as of Friday, 603 people had voted early, while 581 people total cast early ballots in a 30-day period in 2010.
Numbers are also pacing ahead in southeastern Wisconsin.
The Brookfield city clerk reported 2,272 people voted in-person absentee by Monday morning. In 2010, they saw 2,631 people vote early.
"I think it tells us something about how campaigns have gotten smarter about using early voting," UW professor at the La Follette School of Public Affairs Donald Moynihan said. "I think it is also interesting that it's not just an urban phenomenon, that campaigns across the state are using this as a way to get their supporters out."
This is the first major election where early voting has been limited. A bill passed last session limited hours to between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Some areas like Madison and Milwaukee had previously allowed evening and weekend hours.
Moynihan said that makes higher turnout somewhat surprising.
"Going down to two weeks, that is a much shorter time period," Moynihan said of the sometimes 30 days that had been allowed before. "I think people are really engaged in this election and people have also become more used to the idea of early voting in Wisconsin."
The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board said Monday 90,452 people had voted early in the state's largest municipalities. In 2010, there were 122,712 absentee ballots cast in person, and in the 2012 recall election there were 153,854 votes cast early.
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Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association Tells USDA: Don’t Hijack the Checkoff
October 23, 2014
Late last week, the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association along with 44 other state cattlemen’s associations sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, urging him to cease any efforts to establish an additional Beef Checkoff under the 1996 General Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act. Austin Arndt, President of the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association says cattle producers in Wisconsin are highly concerned that this effort by the Secretary will harm the success of the current Checkoff and erode producer support.
“Cattlemen and women will under no circumstances support any attempt to supplement, replace, or enhance the Beef Checkoff with the 1996 Act,” said Arndt. “The Beef Checkoff has served our industry well, it is supported by 4 out of 5 producers, and it returns $11.20 for every dollar producers invest. We will not stand idly by and allow this administration to jeopardize our industry’s research and promotion efforts for political gain.”
Secretary Vilsack announced to representatives of various stakeholder groups on Sept. 30 that he intended the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service to begin drafting a proposed rule to implement a supplemental Checkoff under the 1996 Act.
“The foundation of the 1985 Beef Checkoff is the participation of state beef councils,” said Arndt. “Through the state beef councils, grassroots producers invest and direct programs that build demand for their product and help direct research and promotion dollars on the state and national level. By comparison, the 1996 Act is a top down, federally controlled program that not only fails to recognize the role of the states, but places the control and administration of promotion dollars in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington D.C. We oppose greater government control of our industry and heavy-handed, federally-mandated action by giving more power to the federal government.”
More information can be found at www.beefUSA.org.
Producers can sign a petition directing the administration to abandon their efforts to take over the Checkoff at petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/dont-hijack-beef-checkoff/kDL7XqDm.
Billion to Wisconsin’s
October 24, 2014
According to a new study,
Wisconsin’s dairy indust-
ry contributes $43.4 bill-
ion to the state’s economy,
an increase of 63.7 percent
The study, authored by
Steven Deller, a UW-Exten-
sion community develop-
ment specialist and professor in the UW-Madison agricultural and applied economics department, is a follow-up to a previous study published in 2009 using 2007 data.
According to the study, despite the combined effects of the drought of 2012 and the Great Recession, agriculture remains an important part of Wisconsin’s economy. The study specifically highlights the overall strength of the dairy industry and the role it plays in fueling the state’s economy, particularly growing industry segments which include creamery butter and dry, condensed and evaporated dairy products.
“Dairy continues to flourish as a strong and vital industry in our state,” said James Robson, CEO of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. “As an organization, we are honored to promote and serve the many dairy families and businesses that help generate $43.4 billion dollars for the Wisconsin economy.”
The study also indicates 78,000 jobs in agriculture are specifically related to the dairy industry and that about one in ten people working in Wisconsin hold a job related to agriculture. These jobs include farmers, their employees and those providing them with goods and services—veterinarians, crop and livestock consultants, feed and fuel suppliers, equipment dealers and lenders—as well as those employed in equipment manufacturing and food processing.
The full report “Contribution of Agriculture to the Wisconsin Economy: Updated for 2012” is available online at wp.aae.wisc.edu/wfp/contribution-of-agriculture-to-the-wisconsin-economy.
ANIMART and Zoetis continue to support the Wisconsin Association of FFA
October 28, 2014
ANIMART, Inc., is contributing nearly $46,000 to the Wisconsin Association of FFA on behalf of dairy and livestock producers who purchased Zoetis animal health products during a 2014 program.
For every eligible purchase of Zoetis cattle, pork and equine animal health products from Feb. 1 through Apr. 30, ANIMART donated 1 percent to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation.
The donation will support programs that complement instruction in agricultural education by giving students practical experiences in premier leadership, personal growth and career success skills. Since 2008, ANIMART has contributed more than $205,000 to their cause.
ANIMART is a Star Mission Partner, who is dedicated to the mission of preparing Wisconsin’s youth for college and careers in the fields of agriculture, food system and natural resources. As a Star Mission Partner, they generously support all entities of the Wisconsin FFA, including the Wisconsin Association of FFA, Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators (WAAE), Wisconsin FFA Alumni, Wisconsin FFA Center and Wisconsin FFA Foundation.
Wisconsin Has 4th-Most Agricultural Cooperatives In Country, Says USDA
5 Coops In State Are Also Among Largest In Nation By Business Volume
Monday, October 27, 2014, 4:40pm By Laurel White
The agricultural cooperative movement is alive and well in Wisconsin: According to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state has the fourth-largest number of cooperatives in the nation.
The USDA's annual list names the top 100 agricultural cooperatives in the country ranked by business volume. Wisconsin made the top five for number of large cooperatives, just behind Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.
Cooperatives bring farmers together to pool resources to produce, market or distribute their products.
Brent Hueth, the director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, said Wisconsin’s strong dairy industry makes it a good environment for this kind of business.
“It's a big deal for Wisconsin,” Hueth said. “Dairy producers traditionally have organized more cooperative activity than many other agricultural sectors.”
Five Wisconsin cooperatives made the list, one of which is the Baraboo-based Foremost Farms. Joan Behr, director of communications at Foremost, said the cooperative doesn’t really think about “achieving a number on a list,” but that being singled out as one of the most successful coops in the country is nevertheless a point of pride for members.
“They work hard 365 days a year and they work hard to develop strong markets for their products,” Behr said. “So, being on a list among the top cooperatives in the United States does give them a sense of pride and ownership in what they've accomplished together.”
According to the USDA, the country's top 100 coops are growing, posting their third consecutive year of record sales in 2013. Together, they reported revenue of $174 billion.