Capitol Week-in-Review – August 18, 2016

PSC Seeks Small Business Input on Broadband Service

The Wisconsin State Broadband Office is seeking input from Wisconsin residents and business owners on their needs for improved internet access or service. The goal of the survey is to help state planners and state lawmakers better understand the need for improved internet access throughout the state.

We encourage members to go online to complete this brief survey.


President Signs Disaster Declaration for Northwest Wisconsin

Last Tuesday, President Obama authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to declare Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Iron, Sawyer and Washburn Counties and the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe a major disaster area.

The major disaster declaration is for Public Assistance, which covers eligible projects submitted by counties, cities, townships, and certain private, not-for-profit organizations. The program is not for businesses or homeowners as the level of overall damage in these areas, unfortunately, does not currently meet requirements for federal relief.

Communities in the affected counties are now eligible for federal assistance. They should contact their county emergency management director for further information. Under the program, FEMA provides 75% of eligible costs, while state and local agencies share the remaining 25%.


DOR Releases Annual Equalized Property Value Report

On Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) released its annual Equalized Value Report.

By way of background, the equalized value represents an estimate of a taxation district’s total taxable value, and provides for the fair apportionment of school districts and county levies to each municipality. Changes in equalized value do not necessarily translate into a change in property taxes.

According to the report, Wisconsin’s total statewide equalized property value as of January 1, 2016, was $505 billion, a 3% increase over the prior year. The relevant highlights from the report include:

  • Wisconsin residential property was valued at $354 billion, an increase of 2.9%;
  • Commercial property values were $97 billion, an increase of 3.8%;
  • Manufacturing property was valued at $14 billion, an increase of 2.7%; and
  • Personal property was valued at 12.5 billion, an increase of 2.3%.

While the total equalized value of property in Wisconsin was $505 billion – only $12.5 billion (2.4%) came from personal property. Therefore, eliminating the personal property tax would have only a negligible impact on local property tax collections.