Property Taxpayers United for Fairness and Reform Since 1985
1st Quarter 2015
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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.
WPT Ag Report
AG News Archives and previous news articles that matter to our members.
To learn when and where the open book session and Board of Review meeting will be held in your city, town or village, contact your assessor. Go here this link takes you away from this site
DOR Guides for Property Taxpayers
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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.
What our members say
Thank you for taking time time to introduce yourself and your organization to Jason and Me.
I look forward to working with WPT, Inc. in the future.
Happy New Year!
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
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.
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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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.
The Governor’s 2015-17 Budget
UpFront: Vos says Legislature not rushing right-to-work
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says the current effort to pass right-to-work legislation is "not a surprise."
The GOP leader told "UpFront with Mike Gousha" the Legislature isn't rushing the bill, opting to hold separate hearings in the Senate and Assembly. He said the discussion over right-to-work began in December.
But Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca appearing on the program with Vos, characterized the move as deceptive, pointing to statements by Gov. Scott Walker, who called right-to-work "a distraction." Barca warned the legislation could damage the state's economy and lead to lower average worker pay.
"In the governor's own words ... 'I'm not pushing for right-to-work; I'm not supporting it in this session.' He can't be any clearer," the Kenosha Democrat said on the program, produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. "It's almost like the right to deceive people."
While the legislation has prompted protests at the state Capitol, Vos said the response is muted compared to the backlash lawmakers faced in 2011 with the passage of Act 10. The Rochester Republican argued right-to-work will make Wisconsin competitive with other Midwestern right-to-work states like Iowa and Indiana and be a "net positive" for the state.
"I would love to be Indiana, because they've got a lower unemployment rate and more economic growth than we do; not this $5,000 to $6,000 cut in pay," Vos said.
Also on the show, Sheila Cochran of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council said she hopes the Assembly will modify the implementation timetable of right-to-work when it considers the legislation this week. She said the law would have a far-reaching impact on employers, who would need to bring contracts into compliance.
Cochran also expressed concerns at the potential impact the bill could have on employee rights in the long term, arguing the benefits provided by unions include overtime, weekends, and higher wages. She predicted a reorganization of labor as a result of laws like right-to-work and Act 10, which she portrayed as teachable moments.
"You can't continue to erode people's workplaces and not expect them to push back," Cochran said. "Sometimes you really have to go through a hard and drastic struggle to really learn the lessons that other people learned just by listening."
Also appearing on the program was UW Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen, who said the proposed $300 million cut to the state's university system will mean larger class sizes and additional costs at two-year and extension campuses.
She said reduced class offerings could increase the time required to earn a degree.
Although Sandeen said the cuts would be difficult to manage in the short-term, she said the proposed increase in system autonomy would allow campuses to accept lower priced bids and implement initiatives more quickly. She said the state dollars spent on the university system benefit the economy through a trained workforce and partnerships with companies.
See more from the show: http://www.wisn.com/politics/upfront
As of Friday, February 6, 25 bills have been introduced in the Assembly and 25 in the Senate. A numerical listing of introduced legislation can be found here.
Wisconsin Aquaculture Conference Planned in March
2Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/10/2015
Filling Lakes and Plates is the theme of the 2015 Wisconsin Aquaculture Conference. Registration is now open for the 20th annual event which will be held March 6 and 7 at Hotel Marshfield in Marshfield.
"The success of the walleye stocking program is a direct result of the positive relationship between the Department of Natural Resources and the Industry," says Wisconsin Aquaculture President Dave Gollon. "This partnership, while still in its infancy, will provide long lasting recreational, environmental and economic benefits for the public to enjoy."
The forum offers networking opportunities and educational sessions for those interested in Midwest aquaculture. The Wisconsin Aquaculture Conference attracts the top experts in the region and nation to speak on topics ranging from fish feed and aqua tourism to environmentally sustainable aquaculture and aquaponics. This year's conference will also include an overview of the Walleye Initiative Grant program and panel presentation by farmers who were awarded grants last year.
Meanwhile, the event will feature a trade show with over 20 vendors.
For more information or to register for the conference, call 814-515-2470
Four State Lawmakers Named 'Friend of Farm Bureau'
KWisconsin Ag Connection - 02/27/2015
The state's largest farm organization has recognized four federal lawmakers from Wisconsin as 'Friends of the Farm Bureau' based on their advocacy for agriculture during the previous congressional session. Board members of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau say U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Reps. Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy met the requirements for the award. Each of the legislators were presented with a plaque this week while state Farm Bureau leaders were in Washington, D.C. for the American Farm Bureau Federation's Advocacy Conference.
"It is an honor to receive the 'Friend of Farm Bureau' award for bringing our Wisconsin values to the national conversation about how we invest in farming, rural development, and moving our economy forward," said Senator Baldwin, who was recently appointed to U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. "Our strong agricultural sector is a driver of economic growth, so I will continue to work to build a Grown in Wisconsin economy with Wisconsin family farmers."
All four lawmakers have been given the award before in prior years.
Meanwhile, WFBF President Jim Holte and Vice President Richard Gorder were among the state's delegation attending various events in the nation's capital this week, along with District 8 Director Don Radtke of Marathon County and Farm Bureau member Jillian Beaty from Rock County. In addition to the Advocacy Conference, they joined hundreds of other Farm Bureau leaders from across the nation visiting policymakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the most pressing issues facing agriculture.
Farm Bill Cheat Sheet
Printable PDF that breaks down the farm bill choices.
Capitol Report 2015
1st Quarter | March
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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,
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 March 2, 2015