Property Taxes Estimated to Rise 1.8% Statewide This Year

Property taxes in Wisconsin are projected to rise 1.8% statewide this year, according to the
Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to public policy research and citizen education. After roughly $1.1 billion in state credits are applied, net property taxes will rise an estimated 1.1%, to $9.9 billion statewide.

K-12 school taxes, which comprise 45% of the tax bill statewide, increased 1.8%, more than the 0.1% increase in 2016-17, but less than the 2.0% increase in 2015-16.

Counties, which make up another 20% of the tax bill, raised levies by 3.0%, up from 2.2% last year. The increase is the highest since 3.2% in 2010.

Municipal levies are still being compiled by the state, but WISTAX estimates they likely increased an average of 3.5%, up slightly from last year’s increase of 3.1%. The total tax levy for all cities, villages, and towns would be almost $2.85 billion, or about 25% of the entire bill.

Taxes for technical colleges, which account for only about 4% of the bill, rose 3.0%, to $446.6 million. Technical college levies have declined by nearly 50% since 2015, when the state provided $406 million to “buy them down” and imposed revenue limits on districts. From 1990 to 2010, “tech college” property tax increases averaged 6.4% annually, more than any other type of local government in Wisconsin.

Missing from this year’s property tax bill is the state forestry tax. The 2017-19 state budget eliminated it, at a cost of about $90 million annually; forestry programs will be funded from state income and sales taxes in the future.