Property Taxpayers United for Fairness and Reform Since 1985
1st Quarter 2015
ABOUT US >
MEMBERS SERVICES >
Meet Our Staff
What Members Say About Us
Tax Help & Information
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
Go here this link takes you away from this site
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.
(Click “Back” in your browser to return)
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
Sign up here to receive the weekly
Capitol Report along with other
4th Quarter Newsletter
on the press now!
Member's, if you don't receive
your 2014 4th QTR Newsletter in
the mail please contact us.
2014 4th 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.
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.
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.
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.
News update January 26, 2015
State’s graduation rate among tops in the nation
New data shows three consecutive years of Wisconsin as a leader in public high school graduation
MADISON — A new data table from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) ranks Wisconsin’s high school graduation rate among the top states in the nation for three consecutive years.
The NCES web table reports the national graduation rate at 81 percent for the 2012-13 school year, based on an adjusted cohort graduation rate. Wisconsin’s 88.0 percent rate, reported to the public last spring, is behind Iowa at 90 percent and tied for second with Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Texas. Wisconsin’s graduation rate was 87.0 percent for the 2010-11 school year, 87.5 percent for 2012 graduates, and 88.0 percent for the class of 2013.
“Bravo for our students and the educators in our public schools who guide them on the path to graduation,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Wisconsin has a strong history of being among the top states in the nation for high school graduation rates. We also are working to ensure that a high school diploma has prepared our students for what comes after high school: college and careers.”
The report from NCES showed that most states improved their graduation rates over the three-year span and increased their graduation rate by one or more percentage points between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. Wisconsin’s rate was relatively flat. Thirteen other states had no change over that one year span or a decline in their graduation rates.
“We cannot expect our schools to keep doing more with less,” Evers said, referring to cuts in school funding and revenue authority in the previous state budgets. “My 2015-17 budget calls for fixing our school finance system through ‘Fair Funding for Our Future’ and reinvesting in several critical aid programs so we can ensure prosperity for all our children, our citizens, and our future.”
NOTE: The public high school four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate for the United States, the 50 states, and the
District of Columbia can be found at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/tables/ACGR_2010-11_to_2012-13.asp. Graduation rates for public schools and school districts in Wisconsin can be found on WISEdash, http://wisedash.dpi.wi.gov/. This news release is available electronically at http://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/news-release/dpinr2015_06.pdf.
Calculating the future of solar-fuel refineries
Jan. 23, 2015 by Scott Gordon
In a paper recently published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, a team led by chemical and biological engineering Professors Christos Maravelias and George Huber outlined a tool to help engineers better gauge the overall yield, efficiency and costs associated with scaling solar-fuel production processes up into large-scale refineries.
That’s where the new UW-Madison tool comes in. It’s a framework that focuses on accounting for general variables and big-picture milestones associated with scaling up energy technologies to the refinery level. This means it’s specifically designed to remain relevant even as solar-fuel producers and researchers experiment with new technologies and ideas for technologies that don’t yet exist.The process of converting the sun’s energy into liquid fuels requires a sophisticated, interrelated series of choices. But a solar refinery is especially tricky to map out because the designs involve newly developed or experimental technologies. This makes it difficult to develop realistic plans that are economically viable and energy efficient.
Renewable-energy researchers at UW-Madison have long emphasized the importance of considering energy production as a holistic process, and Maravelias says the new framework could be used by a wide range of solar energy stakeholders, from basic science researchers to business decision-makers. The tool could also play a role in wider debates about which renewable-energy technologies are most appropriate for society to pursue on a large scale.
“The nice thing about it being general is that if a researcher develops a different technology — and there are many different ways to generate solar fuels — our framework would still be applicable, and if someone wants a little more detail, our framework can be adjusted accordingly,” Maravelias says.
In addition to bringing clarity to the solar refinery conversation, the framework could also be adapted to help analyze and plan any number of other energy-related processes, says Jeff Herron, a postdoc in Maravelias’ group and the paper’s lead author.
“People tend to be narrowly focused on their particular role within a bigger picture,” Herron says. “I think bringing all that together is unique to our work, and I think that's going to be one of the biggest impacts.”
Ph.D. student Aniruddha Upadhye and postdoc Jiyong Kim also contributed to the project. The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce: Union front group study flawed
CONTACT: Jim Pugh, WMC, (608) 219-0157
MADISON - A union front group chaired by the president of the AFL-CIO released a biased and flawed report attempting to cast Right to Work laws in an unfavorable light. The report's author made similar false statements about lower wages prior to passage of Right to Work in Indiana and Michigan. In reality, U.S. Labor Department data confirms wages have grown consistently in both Michigan and Indiana since those states enacted their Right to Work laws in 2012.
Contrary to the spin from the labor union bosses, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show Right to Work states grew jobs twice as fast as forced-union states from 2004-2013. Moreover, their data also show Right to Work states grew wages nearly twice as fast as forced-union states from 2003-2013.
WMC President/CEO Kurt R. Bauer said:
"A mountain of politically motivated reports from union front groups cannot overcome the reality that workers in Right to Work states enjoy competitive economic advantages over their counterparts in forced-union states. It's time for Wisconsin to pass Right to Work and give workers the freedom of choice in the workplace."
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) has said he will work to pass Right to Work legislation in the state Senate in the next couple of months. Right to Work legislation prohibits firing workers who refuse to join a union. WMC supports passage of Right to Work legislation in Wisconsin to promote worker freedom and job creation and economic expansion.
Public opinion research has found that Right to Work legislation is vastly popular with Wisconsin voters and the state's business community.
A WMC member survey found 81% of WMC members support passage of Right to Work legislation.
The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI) Voter Survey found 62% of the general public supports making Wisconsin a Right to Work state, including 54% of Democrats. The WPRI poll found that 77% of respondents said they oppose forcing people to join organizations such as unions.
"Despite this attempt by the unions to stop worker freedom, it's time to pass Right to Work in the Badger State," Bauer said.
Click here for the EPI Report.
With Many New Faces, the 2015-16 Legislature
State Assembly is “Greenest” in Years
MADISON—Every other January, Wisconsin renews one of its oldest political traditions: convening a new legislature. But in several respects, the 2015-16 legislature departs from tradition. Particularly striking is its relative inexperience: 27 members of this legislature (senate and assembly) have no prior legislative experience, and another 30 have served two years or less.
A new report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX), “Here Comes the 2015-16 Legislature,” takes a closer look at this new and different legislature. Now in its 84th year, WISTAX is a nonpartisan organization devoted to public policy research and citizen education.
With 26 new members, the assembly is one of the “greenest” in years. Of 99 state representatives, 71 (71.7%) have four or fewer years of Madison legislative experience; 53 (53.5%) have two years or less. Less than one-quarter of the assembly has eight or more years of experience. This is not new: Turnover has been high over the past three elections, with 30 new faces elected in 2010 and 25 in 2012.
High turnover has dramatically shifted the party make-up of the legislature. From 46 of 99 assembly seats in 2009, Republicans now hold a 63-39 seat edge. The GOP also holds an 18-14 majority in the state senate, where seven new senators have been seated. A spring special election in the 20th district (formerly held by new U.S. Representative Glen Grothman) is expected to push that margin to 19-14.
An unusual aspect of Wisconsin’s 2015-16 legislature is how electorally “unscathed” many of its members are.
Of 116 state senate and assembly seats on the November 2014 ballot, 40 were uncontested. In another 15, a major party candidate’s only opposition came from one or more third-party hopefuls. In other words, in 42% of districts, the future lawmakers were virtually guaranteed election before fall balloting began.
Of the seven new senators, two are women, bringing the female total to 11 in 2015, a new high. Meanwhile, the number of women in the assembly is down two to 22. Combined, women hold 33 of 132 (25%) seats in the legislature, a share slightly above 2014’s national norm (24.2%).
A full list of 2015-16 senators and representatives is printed in the new 2015-16 Legislative and Congressional Directory on sale from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. The directory is the only one with district maps, and also includes the name, address, party
affiliation, telephone number, and election results for each legislator, and lists senate and assembly committee chairs, legislative leaders, constitutional officers, and legislative service agencies.
A free copy of The Wisconsin Taxpayer magazine, “Here Comes the 2015-16 Legislature,” is available by visiting www.wistax.org; emailing email@example.com; calling 608.241.9789; or writing WISTAX at 401 North Lawn Ave., Madison, WI 53704-5033.
(Editor’s Note: An electronic version of this release is available at www.wistax.org.)
Wisconsin Ag Groups Push Congress to Delist Wolves
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/26/2015
A group of Wisconsin farm and wildlife organizations have formed a coalition to call on Congress to delist gray wolves from federal protections that they claim are not necessary. In a letter to Rep. Reid Ribble, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, the groups said they would like to see Congressional action to federally reinstate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2011 order to remove the gray wolf in Wisconsin from the federal Endangered Species List. The agency's order was overturned last month by a district judge at the urging of animal rights groups.
"Our farmers are extremely concerned about the effects that wolves are having on cattle in our state," the letter said. "This decision means that the state-approved gray wolf hunt has been suspended and we are left with no mechanism to keep the Wisconsin wolf population in check."
On December 21, Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the USFWS should not have removed federal protections for wolves in Wisconsin and eight other Great Lakes states, which led to several wolf hunting seasons in many of those states. He then immediately placed the animal under protections first established in the late-1970s.
Last week's letter went on to say that Wisconsin's most recent management plan has been conservative, science-based and designed to maintain the prescribed wolf population while managing it to minimize conflicts with Wisconsin farmers and others.
"Without Congressional action, we fear that Wisconsin farmers will experience increased cattle losses to wolves, which are already significant, and the State of Wisconsin will lack the means to control the gray wolf population.
The letter was drafted by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, and co-signed by the Dairy Business Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Soybean Association, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Farmers Organization, Wisconsin Pork Association, Wisconsin Farmers Union, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative, North Central Wisconsin Cattlemen's Association, Wisconsin Association of Professional Ag Consultant, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Wisconsin Bowhunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Federation, Wisconsin Chapters of Safari Club, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Whitetails of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin FORCE.
Wisconsin Ag News – Apples Preliminary Summary
January 26, 2015
Media Contact: Greg Bussler
Wisconsin apple production for 2014 is estimated at 40.7 million pounds, down 2 percent from 2013, according to USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Amid mildly difficult spring weather and localized pockets of frost and hail damage during the growing season, yield per acre was estimated at 13,100 pounds per acre, down 3 percent from the 2013 yield. Weighted average price received for all categories was up 13.2 cents per pound from 50.9 cents in 2013 to 64.1 cents in 2014. Total bearing acres were unchanged year-to-year, at 3,100 acres in 2014. READ REPORT
Wisconsin Ag News – Cranberries Preliminary Summary
January 26, 2015
Media Contact: Greg Bussler
Wisconsin cranberry production totaled 5.04 million barrels in 2014, down from 6.02 million barrels in 2013, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2014 Preliminary Summary. The state’s cranberry growers harvested 20,400 acres, down from 21,100 acres last year. Average yield per acre, at 246 barrels, was down from last year’s record high 283 barrels. The price of cranberries fell for the second year in a row, down from $32.00 per barrel in 2013 to $28.90 per barrel in 2014. As a result, the total value of utilized production declined 24 percent to $145 million dollars. Wisconsin did, however, maintain its number one ranking in cranberry production with 58 percent of the nation’s total. Wisconsin production was more than twice that of the next highest producing state, Massachusetts. READ REPORT
Wisconsin Ag News – Tart Cherries Preliminary Summary
January 26, 2015
Media Contact: Greg Bussler
Wisconsin tart cherry production totaled 12.0 million pounds in 2014, down from 12.3 million pounds in 2013, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2014 Preliminary Summary. The state’s cherry growers harvested 1,900 acres, down from 2,000 acres last year. Average yield per acre, at 6,320 pounds, was up from 6,150 pounds in 2013. The overall average price rose from 35.7 cents per pound in 2013 to 39.4 cents per pound in 2014. The value of Wisconsin’s tart cherry crop totaled $4.68 million in 2014. Processed cherries accounted for 95 percent of the state’s crop. READ REPORT
Capitol Report 2015
1st Quarter | January
PDF use your back button to return
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!