Property Taxpayers United for Fairness and Reform Since 1985
4th Quarter 2015
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Meet Our Staff
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
WPT ANNOUNCES EXPANSION INTO SOUTHEASTERN WISCONSIN
New representative for area business community will expand membership and agenda
MADISON, WI – Wisconsin Property Taxpayers, Inc. (WPT) today announced the creation of a new position to represent Southeastern Wisconsin. Brandon Savage will serve as the Southeastern Wisconsin Business Director to expand WPT’s presence and represent its current membership in the region.
WPT would like to welcome Toni Martin to our staff as a business representative in Southern Wisconsin.
Her experience and knowledge in business management and real estate make Toni the perfect fit for representing WPT's growing membership within the region. Her knowledge of Wisconsin tax, and expertise in small business will serve our members and staff well.
Toni is a resident of the Town of Zenda, and is the proud mother of two boys, and grandmother to one.
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.
(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
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Capitol Report along with other
3rd QTR Newsletter
have been mailed!
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.
4th Quarter | November 2015
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. —Thomas Jefferson
Saturday, Governor Walker recognized National Adoption Day, and proclaimed November to be Adoption Month in the State of Wisconsin. Families across Wisconsin have chosen to adopt children desperately in need of a home, and this month, our state recognizes the selflessness and compassion of these families.
WPT would like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday! Whether you are traveling or hosting the holiday in your home, from our families to yours, we wish you a blessed and memorable celebration with those closest to you.
As always, below is some information that we hope you find useful and informative. If you ever have any suggestions for our weekly Capitol Report, let us know!
Have a blessed week and holiday!
All the best,
American Myths: Benjamin Franklin’s Turkey
By Jimmy Stamp
First up, the idea that Benjamin Franklin, in his infinite wisdom and wit, wanted the National Bird to be the turkey. According to the United States Diplomacy Center, this myth is completely false (though I’ll dive into the murkier parts of that myth in a moment). The center points to the fact that Franklin’s proposal for the Great Seal was devoid of birds completely and suggest that the idea was propagated, in part, by a 1962 illustration for the cover of the New Yorker by artist Anatole Kovarsky, who imagined what the Great Seal of the United States might look like if the turkey did become our national emblem (above image). However, while it’s hard to imagine that overstuffed, flightless bird on our currency and on the President’s lectern instead of on our dinner table, there is actually a bit of truth to this rumor.
The Franklin Institute, addressing what I’m sure is their favorite question about one of the most complex and interesting men to ever live in this country, excerpts a letter from Franklin to his daughter, in which he does in fact question the choice of the eagle, commenting that the selected design looks more like a turkey. Franklin then expounds on the respectability and morality of each bird, which really seems like such a Ben Franklin thing to do:
“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
With all this injustice, he is never in good case but like those among men who live by sharping & robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the district. He is therefore by no means a proper emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our country…
“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”
Read the full Smithsonian article here.
Milwaukee Tool could add hundreds of jobs
With layoffs and strikes dominating the headlines over the past couple of weeks, Milwaukee Tool announced a 200,000 square foot expansion to its Brookfield headquarters that could add 500 new jobs to Wisconsin over the next five years.
According to the company founded in 1924, 800 Wisconsinites already have a job at Milwaukee Tool, and it claims to be the fastest growing tool company in the world. This is good news for those in the area seeking a job, and hopefully their expansion will the the first of many in the coming years.
Read more from BizTimes here.
Wisconsin home sales strong in October
Existing home sales rose 2.4% in October according to the Wisconsin Realtors Association.
Median home prices were 4.7% higher in October of this year at $155,000, compared to $148,000 in October of 2014. That outpaces the rest of the nation, which only saw a 3.9% hike from 2014. Either way, good news for the housing market nationwide, and even better right here at home.
Michael Theo, president of the Wisconsin Realtors Association said that interest rates are "extremely favorable and helping fuel this market."
Homes in southern Wisconsin, particularly areas like Dane County, saw the highest median price, at just around $176,900.
Check out more here.
USS Milwaukee commissioned,
heads to South China Sea
The US Navy's newest warship, a littoral combat ship, the USS Milwaukee, was commissioned on the shores of Lake Michigan on Saturday. In attendance were many dignitaries from both the federal government, and state, including Governor Walker who took part in the ceremony.
The ship, built right here in Wisconsin at Marinette Marine Corp. is the newest type of warship, and can travel at record speeds, and very close to shore.
Seven more ships of the same type are in production at Marinette Marine Corp.
Read more here.
DATCP: Beef Recall
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection has issued a recall for smoked beef roast produced by Harry Hansen's Meat Service.
No illnesses have been reported, but the recall was initiated based on evidence collected during a routine inspection of the Franksville company. "Evidence shows that this smoked beef roast was not produced with the benefit of inspection by state officials as required by law for meat products."
The meat recalled was all sold prior to November 13, 2015. Read more from DATCP here.
Thanksgiving dinner to cost less than '14
The traditional Thanksgiving dinner, feeding a family of ten, will cost an average of $50.08, down about $0.78 from 2014. For a majority of the past ten years, that number has traditionally gone up, not down. One thing that has gone unchanged is the average price of a turkey, which is still at about $23 for a 16-pound bird.
This is good news for Wisconsin families, also coming off the heels of news that gas prices will be at extreme lows throughout the holidays. Prices are already much below $2/gallon around much of the state.
Soybean exports down
Larger competition from Brazil means lower US exports on soybeans, according to the current forecast.
US soybean exports generally peak between September and December, with Brazil's peaking between March and June.
Brazil is forecast to hit a record 100 million metric tons this year, where the US is currently down about 20 percent.
Read more from the Wisconsin Ag Connection here.
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
Happy Monday from Madison. For those of you who got snow over the weekend, I hope you're all shoveled out and watching the snow melt, as temps are supposed to reach above freezing for most of the week.