Did yours? How does it look?
Ours arrived this week. It looks better.
– State property tax is up 0.6%.
– County property tax is down 5.5%.
– City property tax is flat.
– School district property tax is down 6.6%.
– Technical college property tax is down a whopping 56.8%.
– This leads to a total property tax bill decrease of 7.4%.
A few thoughts…
I would have expected for the state to manage a property tax freeze. The county and city property tax decreases are a result of some good decisions and better budgeting. This is the city’s 4th or 5th year of solid budgeting, spending discipline, and a frozen tax levy. Nice job. The election in April will be, in part, a discussion on whether that trend should continue or not.
This is the first year of a substantial change in county taxes in the first year of having a county manager. There’s some good work going on at the county, but they have a lot more work to do. At least it is finally moving in the right direction.
School district property taxes are also a result of some spending discipline and the first year we are seeing some real savings from Act 10. Like the county, it is moving in the right direction but has a long way to go.
The decrease from the tech college is a bit of a fiction. The massive decrease is thanks to a massive injection of state spending into the tech colleges ($178 million, if memory serves). The decrease in property taxes is not because of spending discipline or reform. It’s because of a one-time pile of cash that also came from the taxpayers. It’s a wash. Without the state cash next year, it will likely return to its previous level, which would be a 131% increase for next year. That’ll be fun.
If I assume a flat property tax from the tech college because its decrease is an anomaly, it is an overall decrease in property taxes of 3.22%. Not bad. Thank you to Governor Walker and the Republican majority for moving property taxes in the right direction. They are still way too high, however. For those of you from other states who don’t have a full appreciation of how high property taxes are in Wisconsin, our middle-class home carries a property tax burden of almost $5,000 per year. Ouch.