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.


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Independence day celebration at Governor Walker's residence on Lake Mendota.

                Wisconsin Property Taxes

                By County

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.


Adams  $1,974   Tax Assessor

Ashland $1,764   Tax Assessor

Barron  $2,242  Tax Assessor

Bayfield   $1,896  Tax Assessor

Brown  $2,900  Tax Assessor

Buffalo  $2,047  Tax Assessor

Burnett  $1,870  Tax Assessor

Calumet  $2,902  Tax Assessor

Chippewa  $2,123  Tax Assessor

Clark  $1,928  Tax Assessor

Columbia  $2,988  Tax Assessor

Crawford  $2,244  Tax Assessor

Dane  $4,149  Tax Assessor

Dodge  $2,884  Tax Assessor

Door  $2,357  Tax Assessor

Douglas  $2,076  Tax Assessor

Dunn  $2,823  Tax Assessor

Eau Claire $2,616  Tax Assessor

Florence  $1,682  Tax Assessor

Fond du Lac  $2,624  Tax Assessor

Forest  $1,712  Tax Assessor

Grant  $2,051  Tax Assessor

Green  $2,976  Tax Assessor

Green Lake  $2,311  Tax Assessor

Iowa  $2,925  Tax Assessor

Iron  $1,520  Tax Assessor

Jackson  $1,962  Tax Assessor

Jefferson  $3,099  Tax Assessor

Juneau  $2,020  Tax Assessor

Kenosha  $3,520  Tax Assessor

Kewaunee  $2,361  Tax Assessor

La Crosse  $2,912  Tax Assessor

Lafayette  $2,331  Tax Assessor

Langlade  $1,791  Tax Assessor

Lincoln  $2,154  Tax Assessor

Manitowoc   $2,351  Tax Assessor

Marathon  $2,602  Tax Assessor

Marinette  $1,604  Tax Assessor

Marquette  $2,192  Tax Assessor

Menominee  $2,654  Tax Assessor

Milwaukee  $3,707  Tax Assessor

Monroe  $2,357  Tax Assessor

Oconto  $2,198  Tax Assessor

Oneida  $2,040  Tax Assessor

Outagamie  $2,779  Tax Assessor

Ozaukee  $4,033  Tax Assessor

Pepin  $2,531  Tax Assessor

Pierce  $3,542  Tax Assessor

Polk  $2,649  Tax Assessor

Portage  $2,536  Tax Assessor

Price   $1,775  Tax Assessor

Racine  $3,312  Tax Assessor

Richland  $2,200  Tax Assessor

Rock  $2,706  Tax Assessor

Rusk $1,572  Tax Assessor

Sauk   $2,758  Tax Assessor

Sawyer   $1,759  Tax Assessor

Shawano  $1,972  Tax Assessor

Sheboygan   $2,875  Tax Assessor

St. Croix  $3,367  Tax Assessor

Taylor  $2,052  Tax Assessor

Trempealeau  $2,437 Tax Assessor

Vernon  $2,299  Tax Assessor

Vilas   $1,976  Tax Assessor

Walworth  $3,323  Tax Assessor

Washburn   $1,897  Tax Assessor

Washington  $3,502  Tax Assessor

Waukesha  $3,954  Tax Assessor

Waupaca  $2,411  Tax Assessor

Waushara  $2,125  Tax Assessor

Winnebago  $2,763  Tax Assessor

Wood  $2,078  Tax Assessor

DOR Guides for Property Taxpayers

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Stay Informed

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.

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Current Issues

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.

Current News

With Full Repeal Off the Table, Sen. Nass Unveils Plan B on Prevailing Wage

By Collin Roth

Published: 7:27 PM May 05, 2015


Despite compelling testimony from local government officials, school district administrators, and small contractors, it appears that the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform will not support a repeal of the prevailing wage on Thursday in their executive session.


So what's Plan B?


Sen. Nass unveiled a substitute amendment Monday to SB 49, the bill that would fully repeal prevailing wage, that would simply exempt local governments from costly and onerous prevailing wage requirements.


The Legislative Fiscal Bureau analyzed and explained the substitute amendment:


This substitute amendment eliminates the prevailing wage law with respect to projects of public works undertaken by local governmental units, but retains the prohibition against local governmental units enacting or administering their own prevailing wage laws or similar ordinances. For projects of public works undertaken by the state or a state agency, including state highway projects, the substitute amendment raises the cost threshold for applicability of the prevailing wage law to $1,000,000 for single−trade projects and to $5,000,000 for multiple−trade projects.


Repealing the prevailing wage would be good public policy. But if that is not possible this session, Republicans should seriously consider this reform that would exempt school districts and local governments from the prevailing wage requirements.


Reading the tea leaves, I suspect Sen. Howard Marklein will be no more inclined to vote for this reform either since his comments have steered reform towards the budget and away from Sen. Steve Nass and the Committee on Labor and Government Reform.


As for this issue, Republicans who reject a full repeal will now be forced to put together their own reform package. This will be telling, revealing exactly which parts of the prevailing wage law they deem worth preserving.



The Top Five Falsehoods About Repealing  Prevailing Wage

By John Mielke  Published: 10:26 AM May 07, 2015


There is a great deal of information swirling around the repeal or rewrite of prevailing wage, but not all of it is true. Here are five falsehoods I hear almost every day that we can put to rest.


Inaccuracy #1:  Prevailing wage is an average of all wage rates paid.


Wisconsin’s prevailing wage is either the union package or the weighted average of only the top half of wages reported from a survey of contractors.  More than 80% of Wisconsin’s construction workforce is not unionized, so it is difficult to argue that union wages and benefits prevail.


Inaccuracy #2:  Prevailing wage protects local small businesses.


Prevailing wage provides an unfair advantage for big city and out-of-state contactors at the expense of local employers.  When prevailing wage mandates a wage far above a community’s market value, larger non-local shops gain an advantage because it makes more sense for them to bid and work on projects when wage rates are inflated to their levels.  Also, the prevailing wage paperwork burden discourages small businesses from bidding on projects.


Inaccuracy #3:  Repealing or rewriting prevailing wage will result in dangerous worksites, and unsafe construction.


Virtually every private sector construction project is built without prevailing wage regulations.  There is absolutely no difference in construction standards, or health and workplace safety requirements or enforcement for prevailing wage and non-prevailing wage projects.


Inaccuracy #4:  Without prevailing wage, contractors will make more money at the expense of the construction unions.


Contractors who are required by law to pay prevailing wage simply build that cost into their bid. Nothing gained and nothing lost for the contractor that pays prevailing wage, and the same would be true without prevailing wage.  Union construction workers will continue to receive their collectively-bargained rate independent of prevailing wage.


Inaccuracy #5:  Prevailing wage repeal or rewrite does not have meaningful support and is never going to happen.


Prevailing wage will be repealed in Indiana in the next month.  Already this year, the Democrat West Virginia Governor and the Republican Nevada Governor both signed prevailing wage rewrites into law.  The Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the Wisconsin Counties Association, the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Rural Water Association are supporting the repeal of prevailing wage because they know that it will allow both state and local units of government to stretch their construction tax dollars farther.  If Wisconsin repealed prevailing wage, it would join 18 other states - Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, Kansas, Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.


John Mielke is President of Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin.  Established in 1972, ABC-Wisconsin is a trade association of nearly 800 construction employers.


WPT's Agenda for Success 2015-2016:  Eliminate Prevailing Wage Mandate--  The additional cost of labor in the construction of public works projects add hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of these projects. Prevailing wage is an artificial rate set by government that contractors are required to follow often times in- flating the wage rates driving up labor costs.



Democrat says Republicans cut three school budgets in a row

By Dave Umhoefer on Monday, May 11th, 2015 at 5:00 a.m.


When new tax revenue failed to materialize during budget deliberations, Democrats in the state Legislature reminded voters that majority Republicans had pledged to backfill some of Gov. Scott Walker’s cuts to public education.


"Now Republican legislators must answer to the people of Wisconsin: Where is the money they promised and why are our public schools last in line?" asked state Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point, who is assistant Democratic leader.


"Republicans have already cut our neighborhood public schools three budgets in a row," Shankland said in a news release on May 6, 2015. "They’ve perpetrated the largest cut to public education in our state’s history while funneling millions of public dollars into unaccountable private schools."


That’s a lot to chew on.


In 2012 we rated True a claim by Democrat Kathleen Falk that in his first two-year budget, Scott Walker enacted "the biggest cuts to education in our state’s history."


That claim covered both kindergarten-12th grade schools and the public university system. But experts said Walker’s K-12 cuts were the biggest ever.


Now we’ll rate Shankland’s claim that "Republicans have already cut our neighborhood public schools three budgets in a row."


It’s clear she meant Walker’s first two budgets, plus the proposed 2015-’17 budget that legislators are still working on: Republicans have controlled the Legislature and governor’s office since Walker’s election in 2010.


Asked to back up the claim, Shankland aide Annika Petty explained that according to the office’s calculations, Walker and fellow Republicans have cut general state aid to local schools by $1.4 billion under the 2011-’13 and 2013-’15 enacted budgets plus the governor’s proposed 2015-’17 plan.


She gets that number by comparing the funding level before Walker’s arrival to that in each of the six years since, and adding up the difference.


The funding, in each of those six years, is lower than the amount from the last pre-Walker budget year, 2010-'11.


So in that sense, Republicans have come up short of the Doyle mark in each of the last three budgets (though the outcome of the current budget is pending).


But there’s another much more common way to view this: Looking at how each budget compares to the final year of the previous budget.


That’s typically the framework legislators use during budget deliberations. Each new budget uses the expiring budget as a starting point.


Walker’s first enacted budget cut general aids by 8 percent compared to the pre-Walker base year.


But the second budget enacted under Walker actually added back some of the cuts. Funding went up 2 percent over the first Republican budget.


In the third, pending budget, there’s a 2.6 percent increase over the previous budget.


So by the typical way of looking at budgets in Madison, Republicans have cut once and added back twice.


(Two notes: Doyle cut general school funding in his last budget, breaking with decades of increases. And general-aid trends vary by school district. In the last four years, between 56 percent and 97 percent of school districts saw aid reductions from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, that trend flipped; a bare majority saw increases).


Budget watchers with the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a nonpartisan research organization, said Shankland’s method overstate the cuts because of the way it takes a base year and compares it to six subsequent years.


Todd Berry, president of the group, also noted that some of Walker’s Act 10 law resulted in significant savings for many school districts, helping to offset some or all of the cuts.


But Berry said the aid money Republicans added back might not have mattered in many cases because the state placed tight limits on what school districts could raise in total from property taxes and state aid.


Finally, we note that Shankland focused on general state aid, but school officials say that Walker’s pending budget would cut a more crucial form of special-purpose aid (categorical aids, in Madison parlance) over the two years from 2015-'17.


Our rating


Shankland claimed that "Republicans have already cut our neighborhood public schools three budgets in a row."


There’s an element of truth in her claim in that general school aid is lower in Walker’s proposed third budget than it was before he took office.


But it’s misleading to say three budgets "in a row" made cuts, when two of them actually restored some of the general aid lost in Walker’s first budget.


We rate Shankland’s claim Mostly  False.




WPT Ag NewsAgriculture


Sheriff Herrick says new IOH law is unconstitutional

Clark County Press, May 6, 2015


In a press release issued Friday, Clark COunty Sheriff Greg Herrick reminds all farmers and agri-business operators that the new Implements of Husbandry (IOH) law (Act 377) took effect in January 2015.


As a result, farmers and agri-business operators face excessive fines and forfeitures for tractors and IOH that are now considered overweight and illegal on Wisconsin state, county and local roads, unless a permit is obtained from the local maintaining authority.


Herrick considers these weight limits unrealistic and unattainable and, consequently, unconstitutional and unenforceable.


Recently, Herrick became aware several farmers in surrounding counties were targeted, in his opinion, by the Wisconsin State Patrol Weight Enforcement and other county sheriff's offices. Those farmers received citations with potential fines and forfeitures (some fines ranging from $5,000 to $8,000 for doing nothing more than driving down the road with just a tractor, not pulling or hauling anything).


Herrick characterizes this as unconstitutional due to the excessive dollar amounts being assessed. Based on available information, the local authorities denied these farmers the appropriate permits to travel on the roads with their tractors and IOH, despite the necessity those farmers reach their fields for spring field work and planting.


Herrick believes significant portions of Act 377 are unconstitutional and , therefore, unenforceable.


"Those provisions will not be enforced within Clark County by the Clark County Sheriff's Office," Herrick said in the press release.


For more information, contact Herrick at the Clark COunty Sheriff's Office in Neillsville, 715-743-5357


New IoH law makes 20 changes

By Jan Shepel   May 5, 2015




When Act 377 — Wisconsin's original Implements of Husbandry law — was signed it was considered to be a compromise between local officials who wanted to protect local roads and infrastructure, and agricultural interests who wanted to assure that farmers could get their equipment to their fields and do their work.


But as that bill became law a year ago there were immediately areas where lawmakers, officials and farmers saw potential problems.


Last week Gov. Walker signed Assembly Bill 113 into law. The measure, now Wisconsin Act 15, makes more than 20 adjustments to last year's law, making changes that clarify the operation of agricultural commercial motor vehicles and implements of husbandry (IoH) on roadways in the state.


Chief among those "tweaks" to the law — implements with rubber tracks can now legally operate on Wisconsin's roadways. Last year's law didn't address tractors or implements that run on rubber tracks and that item was immediately targeted as one of the things that needed to be addressed.


The new law also allows an agricultural commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and farm implements to cross intersecting highways on the way to the field. This change was made to avert the potential need for thousands of permits across the state.


The new law makes changes to the definitions of implement of husbandry and agricultural CMV. Under the bill, a combination of vehicles is to be considered an "implement of husbandry" if the combination consists of any implement of husbandry towed by a farm truck, farm tractor or motor truck.


The newly signed law also specifies that a power unit towing harvesting equipment is an implement of husbandry of the farm equipment type and that a grain cart is an implement of husbandry of the same type as a farm trailer.


It clarifies that, if an implement of husbandry consists of a power unit towing tillage, planting, harvesting, or cultivation equipment, the power unit may be a farm tractor.


It specifies that a vehicle directly applying lime to a farm field may be classified as an agricultural CMV. Under the bill, an agricultural CMV includes a vehicle assisting a harvesting vehicle by receiving farm products as they are harvested.


The bill makes more than 20 adjustments to the IOH law:


·· 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 implements 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;


·· Agricultural 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.


Road warriors


The original IoH legislation was created after problems with large manure haulers developed in several counties and operators were ticketed by police. That prompted officials at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Department of Transportation to convene a study group of stakeholders to look at all sides of the problem.


Many had assumed that farm vehicles were exempt from road restrictions, but that was never the case. When these operators got traffic citations and had to figure out a way to get their overweight tankers moved from local roads, a solution was sought from lawmakers.


After that study group made its recommendations two lawmakers tackled the legislation. Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Rep. Keith Ripp (R-Lodi) were able to hammer out a compromise measure that assured farmers would have the ability to use their equipment on state roads.


That original legislation created a "no fee" permit from the DOT and local govenments for farm implements and agricultural CMVs. It also created height and weight restrictions on farm vehicles.


Wisconsin's largest farm organization, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, made passage of the bill their top legislative priority last year, noting that farmers need the ability to legally get their equipment from the farm to the field to work their land.


Local officials were looking for ways to protect roads and bridges from damage caused by ever-larger farm equipment.


The original law spelled out the definition of farm and commercial agricultural equipment, increased the weight limit of such vehicles and created new lighting and marking requirements for wide implements in addition to creating the permit system.


Remedies required


But it was immediately apparent that there were problems with implementation of the bill. Petrowski and Ripp had told growers at various meetings that the IoH law would need to be revisited, as many of the provisions were compromises.


"Last year's legislation was successful in legally allowing overweight and over-length implements and Ag-CMVs to operate on the road, as well as in facilitating a dialogue between farmers and their local governments. However, we knew we would need to revisit the process again this session once the permitting system entered its first year of implementation," Ripp said.


"AB 113 makes seemingly small but important changes that will help farmers and local governments continue to work together as we work toward planting season in the coming weeks."


This year's new bill received unanimous support in the Senate and Assembly in both committee hearings and in the body as a whole.


It was presented to Gov. Scott Walker on April 28 and signed in ceremonies the next day.


Jim Holte, an Elk Mound farmer who is president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, called this the "second phase" of the implements of husbandry law.


"More than twenty tweaks were made in this bill to improve upon the work we accomplished with last year's Wisconsin Act 377. Over the last year farmers, farm organizations and local government officials communicated with the bill's authors to address a number of issues. This type of open communication and cooperation culminated with this bill's signing," Holte said.


"However, it is likely that our work doesn't end here. As this law is implemented across the state, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation will continue to reach out to farmers, farm organizations and others to offer information and discuss issues regarding the operation of overweight and over-length farm machinery on Wisconsin roads," he added.


"We are committed to taking any concerns back to Sen. Petrowski and Rep. Ripp as these two gentlemen, along with Gov. Walker, have clearly demonstrated they want to work with us to make Wisconsin agriculture stronger."


Others also noted that these new revisions are not likely to be the last word on IoH legislation in Wisconsin. Testimony on AB 113 during the legislative process showed that there are potentially more changes that will need to be made to the IoH law.



House Ag Committee Passes Mandatory Price Reporting Bill

Posted on 05/05/2015 by Amanda Bryant Culp


Late last week, the House Agriculture Committee passed H.R. 2051, the Mandatory Price Reporting Act of 2015, by a voice vote. The bill reauthorizes the law which was set to expire in September.


In February, NASDA Members unanimously passed a Policy Amendment in support of mandatory price reporting for the purpose of fair, complete, and accurate marketing information.

Capitol Report        2015

2nd Quarter | May

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Our own Ag Member Representative Donovan Dolph - July 4th, 2014

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,

which includes

moveable items

such as cars, boats,

and the value of

stocks and bonds.

Most states have

moved away from

taxing personal

property and now

impose taxes

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


Eye On Lobbying Government Accountability Board

Updated 1/21/2015!

WPT Ag Report

AG News Archives and previous news articles that matter to our members.


Local Public Hearing times, dates and places.

Public Hearings



Tuesday hearing in Shelton will allow public input on budget

How much to give to the Board of Ed likely to be a focus

By Brad Durrell on May 11, 2015  –

The public will have its say on the proposed 2015-16 Shelton budget at a Board of Aldermen public hearing on Tuesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in the City Hall auditorium.


The hearing is intended to let residents voice their views about the proposed spending plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.


Mayor Mark Lauretti’s proposed $120.7-million budget would keep the tax rate unchanged while overall spending would increase by 1.7%, including a 2.2% jump for the schools.


The Board of Apportionment and Taxation (A&T) has increased Lauretti’s budget by $200,000 on the municipal side, but took no official action on the Board of Education (BOE) allocation due to a 3-3 split between A&T Republicans and Democrats.


More for the schools?


Democrats want to give the BOE $1.75 million more than Republican A&T members and Lauretti, who is a Republican.


BOE officials have requested a 5% budget increase, and said anything less than 3.6% could lead to layoffs of teachers and other staff and the possible return of pay-to participate fees for sports and other extracurricular activities.


Aldermen begin budget workshops


Meanwhile, the Board of Aldermen began its process of scrutinizing the budget with a workshop on May 4. The aldermanic workshops will resume after next week’s public hearing on the budget.


The aldermen will finalize the budget and set the new mill rate by the end of May, with Lauretti having the ability to veto all or part of their budget actions


At the May 4 meeting, aldermen focused on expenditures by various departments, but did not get to the school budget. No formal votes were taken.


“A&T did not adopt a budget, so we’ll work from the mayor’s budget,” aldermanic President John Anglace said at the start of the workshop.


Finn wants cuts on city side


Alderman Jack Finn, the lone Democrat on the eight-member Board of Aldermen, suggested reducing dozens of line items in almost all department budgets. The cuts ranged from $75 to $300,000, depending on the line item.


Most of the suggested reductions were based on line items having not been fully spent in previous years. “I’m pointing out what they didn’t use,” Finn said when recommending a reduction in one department.


“This department returned over $1 million last year,” Finn said at another point.


He later said he expected to offer reductions totaling about $939,000, which then could be given to the BOE to partially close the gap that is worrying school officials.


Finn said his suggested cuts on the municipal side of the budget would generate more funds for the BOE without the need for a tax increase.


Lauretti has recommended a $1.5-million increase for the BOE. The BOE is looking for at least a $3.25-million increase to avoid layoffs or other cutbacks, so Finn’s approach would provide more than half of that money.


‘The hatchet man’


Alderman John Papa questioned why Finn was proposing so many small cuts. “We’re talking chump change,” he said.

Alderman John Papa

Alderman John Papa


Some of the Republican aldermen suggested Finn cut money from larger departments, so the totals would be greater. “I will,” he responded.


“You should work for [Democratic Gov.] Malloy the way you’re cutting this budget,” Papa told Finn. He also jokingly starting calling Finn “the hatchet man.”


Papa said exactly how much funding will be needed for some line items is hard to know in advance, and Finn’s approach would leave no money for leeway.


Anglace said Finn’s suggested cuts might not make sense for certain line items because more money may be needed.


When they questioned if all the different cuts would add up to much, Finn assured them it would equal almost $1 million.


Committee Activity

On May 5, the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform will hold a public hearing on 2015 Senate Bill 49, which would eliminate the prevailing wage requirements in Wisconsin public works projects. An executive session for the bill is scheduled for May 7.

Rep. Danou to hold public hearings on budget

Representative Chris Danou (D-92nd Assembly District) will hold four public information sessions regarding the Governor Scott Walker's budget this month.


Danou said the goal of the sessions will be to inform people of what's in the budget and the philosophy behind some of the issues.


"I believe it's a moral document, that shows what we're going to fund and what we're not going to fund," he said. "It's a large document so people can get lost in it, so I want to break it down for people."


Danou will host a meeting in Black River Falls on May 7, the Alma Center on May 14, in Mondovi on May 16 and in Arcadia on May 27. All meetings are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.


"We really want people to reach out to other legislators and put the pressure on the people in Madison," he said. "Hopefully these meetings help people understand what's going on and encourage them to reach out."



The Governor’s

2015-17 Budget

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

*an interactive almanac

of U.S. politics



June 4, 2015


Wisconsin Acts

Continuously Updated


Wisconsin Blue Book


Published Biennially in Odd-Numbered Years

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

Differing Views  Where Do
YOU Fit In?

Read it online!

News updates May 11, 2015

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