Property Taxpayers United for Fairness and Reform Since 1985
3rd Quarter 2015
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WPT Ag Report
AG News Archives and previous news articles that matter to our members.
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)
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
New IoH law makes 20 changes
The bill makes more than 20 adjustments to the Implements of Husbandry (IOH) law, including:
• Clarifies in state statute that IOH with rubber tracks can legally operate on Wisconsin roadways.
• To alleviate the potential issuance of thousands of permits across the state, it authorizes an IOH or (agricultural commercial motor vehicle) Ag-CMV being legally operated with a permit to cross any intersecting highway under the jurisdiction of the maintaining authority that issued the permit.
• 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 IOH 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.
• Ag-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.
Earlier this month the State Senate and State Assembly unanimously approved Assembly Bill 113.
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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2015 1st 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
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2015 Assessors Guide for
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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.
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people...They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. —Thomas Jefferson
WPT Legislative Director
News from the Capitol and around Wisconsin
I hope you have had an enjoyable weekend and that your week is off to a productive start.
Last week, WPT, Inc. had an incredible week, as our
member reps and organization officials met in Stevens Point to discuss our growing membership, additions to our successful agenda, and how we can expand our services to you- the reason we exist! We are working hard on finalizing the details, and will be sure to send a special Capitol Report soon!
This past weekend, I decided to stop by the Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis. After spending what felt like an eternity finding parking, I entered the gates, ready to grab a cream puff and glass of ice cold milk. With a high of about 90 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, and after making a few unscheduled stops for some fried food on a stick, I headed over to the agricultural facilities, and made my way through each building.
I had great conversations with some of the hard-working men and women who took time away from their farms to showcase their livestock and agricultural accomplishments in our great state. Not only were Wisconsin farmers showcased at the fair, but after getting lost in the expo building, some of our great small businesses were also sharing their accomplishments in our state's economy. Also on display were the incredibly gifted and talented 4H groups from around the state. These young leaders should give us all hope that our state will be in great hands in the future.
Needless to say, the day at the fair recharged me for this upcoming week ahead, and my meetings with lawmakers in the Capitol to discuss the short remaining lifespan of the Personal Property Tax in Wisconsin.
That's all for this week! I wish you and your family a blessed and productive week ahead!
Merge UW Colleges and Tech Colleges?
Merging the UW's two-year college campuses and the state tech colleges is being studied by the state legislature. Rep. Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg) will chair a group of lawmakers who will take a closer look at the idea. Nothing is final, and there are still a lot of discussions to be had.
WPT has not taken a position on this proposal yet, and we would like to hear from our members. Please share your thoughts on our website, or feel free to e-mail John Jacobson, our Legislative Director, if you would like to share your opinion. Read more here
Governor Walker requests Disaster Designation from USDA
The counties of Langlade, Lincoln, and Marathon would be declared disaster areas if the USDA approves a request from Governor Walker, as Ginseng farmers lost about 28% of their crop and 50% of their seed due to a late freeze and frost in May.
DNR's groundwater plan isn't working
The Wisconsin DNR admitted last week that their manure program isn't actually protecting drinking water, and that they're going to introduce new ways to apply the manure. The new application methods would be developed with voluntary recommendations and input from experts, environmentalists, and farmers.
"The agency for now isn't suggesting new regulations, which would mandate limits on how much manure could be applied on the land where animal waste and other pollutants are polluting groundwater supplies," the Milwaukee Journal quoted a DNR official, Russ Rasmussen. Take a closer look here
DATCP lifts quarantines on Avian Flu premises
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection lifted all quarantines on areas and premises impacted by the "highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) earlier this year."
All six quarantines, four in Barron County, and two in Jefferson County, have been lifted.
This comes just a week after federal government indicated it will be handing out $191 million to states affected by the outbreak. Check out last week's Capitol Report for more information on that story. Full DATCP announcement here
Wisconsin and Minnesota hit by low milk prices, high input costs
The Minnesota Star Tribune reports that Wisconsin and Minnesota dairy farmers are feeling quite the pinch in their pocketbooks. With milk prices down a third from the five-year-high in September, milk prices were hovering under the $18 per hundredweight.
Monroe County's UW Extension agriculture expert Bill Halfman chimed in to explain the export market could go either way in the near future, citing some relief might come in the form of the Dairy margin Protection Program from the 2014 Farm Bill. Read more here
Rep. Mike Kuglitsch: New EPA Rules Anything But Reasonable
It's hard to understand how anyone can conclude reasonableness when evaluating President Obama's new plan to supposedly rein in carbon emissions. The so-called Clean Power Plan is poised to dramatically increase electricity costs in Wisconsin while doing little to nothing to actually reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
Governor Walker has already made clear that he is going to fight to protect Wisconsin's economy and, thankfully, Attorney General Brad Schimel has been on the front lines of challenging this measure that may pose disastrous consequences for Wisconsin families and businesses.
The EPA's plan has faced particularly widespread opposition from some of the country's leading legal experts, including the president's former Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe. Critics contend the proposal not only tramples the letter of the law, but also sets a dangerous precedent for executive rulemaking, as the agency does not possess the authority to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, precisely what these regulations seek to do.
Here in Wisconsin, the EPA's regulations will cripple our economy and commercial activity and leave many families struggling to afford the higher cost of electricity. Over half of our state's electricity is generated from coal, an abundant and low-cost resource that EPA's proposal effectively seeks to eradicate. Since lower electricity rates lead to a more sound economy, shifting away from coal and increasing our use of these other resources spells bad news for Wisconsinites, from corner offices to cul-de-sacs. The EPA's devastating policies will leave Wisconsin and this country economically hamstrung. It is estimated that Wisconsin alone could lose over 21,000 jobs by the time this new power plan is fully implemented.
It is estimated that under the EPA's plan, Wisconsin ratepayers will be left facing electricity rate increases as high as 17 percent. The Public Service Commission is estimating the proposal could cost $13 billion over the next 15 years. For businesses, that means cutbacks, often in the form of shedding jobs or scaling back operations and output. With less affordable electricity, Wisconsin's manufacturing, agricultural and burgeoning technology industries that sustain our economy could be thrown into a tailspin. Families, especially the poor, will likewise be forced to make difficult decisions about their spending in order to afford their power bills each month, which may include sacrificing other vital needs just to keep the lights on.
President Obama is correct in saying that no one country can solve climate issues. Unfortunately, countries across the world will not be using the same costly standards that we use here. While the United States attempts to make microscopic environmental victories in the upcoming years, countries like China, India, and Mexico stand to benefit in the global market place. These countries will continue to add coal fired power plants to their fleets and import jobs out of the United States.
Critics' repeated warnings about these potential consequences have fallen on deaf ears in the Obama Administration. With divisive partisanship handicapping any meaningful effort to overturn these rules on Capitol Hill, it is up to individual states to lead the charge. Ordering states like ours to completely overhaul electricity production is in itself illegal; but doing so in the name of a political agenda, and with complete disregard for the impact it will have on hard-working Americans, is infuriating.
State Representative Mike Kuglitsch is Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities
Capitol Report 2015
3rd Quarter | August
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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 August 17, 2015