Property Taxpayers United for Fairness and Reform Since 1985
1st Quarter 2016
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Tax Help & Information
Simply fill out the form below to leave your comments and
opinions. We will be glad to assist you in any way possible.
will advocate for:
-Restoring the "beginning farmer" tax credit
-$5000 refundable tax credit
-$5000 tax deduction
-Provides beginning farmers with interest-free loans
-Eliminate capital gains tax for farmers who sell to beginning farmers
Together, lets work to restore our family farming heritage.
For more information call: 1-800-994-9784
John Jacobson (L), WPT's Legislative Director & Bert Vosters (R) WPT's AG Members Representative
WPT was quite busy at Farm Tech Days! 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!
Farm Tech Days Drawing Winners
Congratulations to our winners! You won a complimentary one year membership with WPT valued at $100!
Tuesday, August 25th
Eric Speckher of Sparta
Sam Stressep Sr. of
Wednesday, August 26th
Roxanne Lots of Chetek
John Shefer of Bark Road
Thursday, August 27th
Gerald Boelter of Markesan
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
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
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)
WPT Ag Report
AG News Archives and previous news articles that matter to our members.
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
We are working on the
4th QTR Newsletter!
2015 3rd 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
Go here this link takes you away from this site
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.
1st Quarter | February 2016
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. —Thomas Jefferson
for many regions, so WPT would like to remind you to stay safe, and make sure to lend a helping hand to your elderly or disabled neighbors.
This week, we will discuss a huge international merger between one of Wisconsin's largest corporations, and take a look at a proposal from several state senators regarding search requirements for unemployment benefit recipients. We'll also share the results of a recent study, and where Wisconsin's tax burden ranks overall compared to other states.
As always, we hope you find the weekly WPT Capitol Report interesting and informative. If there are issues impacting your local community that you would like featured in the report, please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly.
All the Best,
Senators introduce UI work search fix
If you are a business owner in Wisconsin, chances are, you pay a hefty tax every month on your payroll for unemployment insurance (UI), and if you are in an industry such as construction or excavating, you use this service every year when you implement seasonal layoffs due to weather and your company's inability to work at full capacity. When it gets too cold, you simply cannot mix concrete.
Now, some of the public benefit reforms in Wisconsin, which implemented mandatory work search requirements for those claiming UI benefits, has entirely removed the exemption for those only experiencing seasonal layoffs because of weather. These are employees who know their bosses will be calling them back as soon as the temperatures get a little warmer.
The removal of this exemption not only requires these workers to perform a mandatory minimum number of weekly job searches, but to upload their resume onto the government website, and apply to jobs that should be available for the long-term unemployed in our state. Additionally, the changes now require the employer to call to request and verify certain information with the Department of Workforce Development, which only adds more of a cost to the business.
Luckily, State Senators Janet Bewley, Dave Hansen, Jon Erpenbach, and Julie Lassa have introduced a bill that would exempt employees only facing seasonal or temporary layoffs due to the nature of the industry in which they work from performing these job searches for a certain period of time. WPT strongly supports this legislation, as Wisconsin's businesses already pay an enormous cost per month into unemployment insurance, and should be able to utilize this service without fear of losing their employees in the off-season.
If you are experiencing these issues, we urge you to reach out to your elected officials in Madison and urge them to support LRB-3849, which would prevent employees of companies from having to seek work for up to 26 weeks if their company plans to rehire
To find out who represents your area in the state legislature, visit legis.wisconsin.gov, or call 1-800-362-9472.
Governor Walker expands Family Care
Family Care will now be available in Rock County under a bill signed into law by Governor Walker last week.
The program assists people in need of long-term care by promoting independence and quality of life. Previously, it had only been available in 63 of 72 Wisconsin counties. The legislation now requires the Department of Health Services to contract with a private care-managing service to implement Family Care and IRIS in this region.
The highly bipartisan bill was authored by republicans Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, and Sen. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater. It was co-sponsored by area legislators including democrats Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, Rep. Debra Kolste, D-Janesville, Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Milton, and Sen. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville.
Johnson Controls to merge with Tyco...kinda...
In a move referred to among experts and industry leaders as an "inversion," two large-scale manufacturers, Johnson Controls and Tyco, will merge to create a $32 billion industrial conglomerate.
Johnson Controls, a Milwaukee-based corporation, will shift its global headquarters and legal division to Cork, Ireland, and will retain 56% of the company control in the merger. Johnson Controls will also receive about $4 billion in cash through the deal.
In a move referred to as "on paper only," experts maintain that these "inversions" are generally done by American companies as a means to avoid paying American taxes- about $150 million annual savings for Johnson Controls. This is particularly unnerving to many critics, who remember that Johnson Controls begged taxpayers for a hefty bailout in 2008. When Washington was offering cash to assist the auto industry- Johnson Controls, who manufactures some auto components- was about as patriotic as they come, and welcomed taxpayer dollars from the government with open arms.
It seems, now that they are making billions in profit, they don't see the need to pay anything into the system.
WEDC fraud bill one step closer
The bill making it a felony to defraud Wisconsin's job creation agency, the Wisc. Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has now passed through an Assembly committee and might be on its way to the entire legislature for debate.
The bipartisan measure from republican Rep. Samantha Kerkman and democratic Sen. Dave Hansen would make fraud against WEDC a Class E Felony, punishable by up to $10,000 in fines, and 10 years in prison.
This bill comes on the heels of calls for reform from bipartisan groups of lawmakers, and the general public, after multiple Wisconsin companies have accepted money from the agency, promising to create more jobs, and have failed to meet those expectations, essentially receiving a free cash handout from Wisconsin taxpayers.
Three democrats voted against the bill. All other democrats and republicans voted in favor.
Study ranks Wisconsin tax burden
among the worst
Fourth highest. That's the ranking from the Tax Foundation study, which puts Wisconsin up there with heavy hitters such as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. With taxes this high, we might as well move to Manhattan...and the numbers prove it.
The numbers equal out to about $4,700 per person in Wisconsin. That's enormous. It ranks us with a higher tax burden than Minnesota, Iowa, and even Illinois.
Wisconsin's overall tax burden comes out to about 11%. That is, 11% of all income in Wisconsin ultimately goes to state or local taxes.
The data in this study was collected was from FY2012.
Bayfield County wants to regulate big farms
A standing ovation and roaring applause could be heard in Washburn last Tuesday as soon as Bayfield County Supervisors voted unanimously to regulate large farms.
Citing deep environmental concerns and the incredible beauty of the region, supervisors voted to require operational and waste management licenses from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) of 1,000 animals or more.
Also part of the new ordinances is a one time $1 per animal application fee for CAFOs, whose applications cannot be denied by counties as per state law. CAFOs would be required to be capable of storing waste for a minimum of 540 days.
A proposed pig CAFO from an Iowa corporation in Bayfield County, is expected to spread 6.8 million gallons of liquid manure on nearby fields each year.
BILLS IN CIRCULATION
These are bills that are being circulated for co-sponsor-ship by lawmakers in the State Capitol.
WPT thought our members might be interested in seeing some of the bills that might have an impact on small business, agriculture, or taxes in the State of Wisconsin. So, each week, we will begin sharing pieces of legislation that are currently being circulated in the State Capitol for co-sponsorship. Click the "LRB" link for the actual text of the bill, or click "Memo" to read the description and explanation from the lawmaker.
LRB-3846 Memo Increasing Motor Fuel Tax (Erpenbach, Jon (D)) Increasing the motor vehicle fuel tax rate to pay debt service on transportation bonding and adjusting the rate by the annual average change in the consumer price index. Deadline: None given.
LRB-4569 Memo Interscholastic Athletic Associations (Nygren, John (R)) Participation in interscholastic athletics and application of the public records and open meetings laws to interscholastic athletic associations. Deadline: Thursday, January 28, 5 pm.
LRB-3849 Memo Work Search Exemption (Bewley, Janet (D)) An exemption from work search requirements for certain individuals claiming unemployment insurance benefits. Deadline: Wednesday, February 3, 5 pm.
LRB-4511 Memo Creation of Wage Council (Sinicki, Christine (D)) Creation of a Wage Council to study and make recommendations concerning increases in the minimum wage and granting rule-making authority. Deadline: Wednesday, January 28, Noon.
LRB-4591 Memo Prohibiting Sales of Municipal Water (Larson, Chris (D)) Prohibiting sales or leases of municipal water or sewer utilities to investor-owned utilities. Deadline: Friday, January 29, 4:30 pm.
LRB-4548 Memo WEDC Loan Recipient Reports (Barca, Peter (D)) Reports by recipients of loans, grants, or tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Deadline: Tuesday, February 2 5 pm.
LRB-4539 Memo Vehicle Data Recorders (Kremer, Jesse (R)) Motor vehicle event data recorders, prohibited insurance practices related to accessing or using information collected by event data recorders, and providing a penalty. Deadline: Monday, February 1, 4 pm.
LRB-4627 Memo Kenosha Chamber of Commerce (Barca, Peter (D)) Recognizing the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce for 100 years of excellent service and dedication to the greater Kenosha area. Deadline: Wednesday, February 3, 5 pm.
Read the 3rd QTR Newsletter online.
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!
WPT Legislative Director
News from the Capitol and around Wisconsin
We hope your week is off to a great start, and that you are well-prepared for the large winter storm that will dump snow on a huge portion of the state tomorrow.
The weather system moving into Wisconsin will likely be the largest winter storm of the year