Wisconsin Budget Committee Votes to End Forestry Mill Tax

The state’s portion of Wisconsin’s property tax revenue would be eliminated under a measure approved Thursday by the state’s budget-writing committee.

The Republican-led Joint Finance Committee voted to sunset the forestry mill tax, which would amount to a reduction of about $180 million over the two-year budget period. Under the proposal, the forestry account would receive funding from the state’s general fund rather than the specified tax. But critics argue that puts the forestry fund in competition with other areas funded by general purpose revenue, like schools and health care.

While most property taxes are levied by local governments and school districts, the state’s portion — up to 20 cents per $1,000 of property value, but currently set at about 17 cents — goes to fund the acquisition, preservation and development of forests in the state.

The estimated savings for the owner of a median-valued home would be between $25 and $30, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.