Wisconsin Municipalities Depend Most on Property Taxes Among Midwest States

Cities and villages in Wisconsin rely more heavily on property taxes than any other state in the Midwest, and to a greater degree than most states nationally, according to a new report by the nonpartisan, independent Wisconsin Policy Forum.

In 2015, Wisconsin municipalities received 42.2% of their revenues from the property tax, but only 1.6% from sales and income taxes combined, WPF noted. Nationally, on average, municipalities got 23.3% of their revenues from the property tax with an additional 21.3% from sales and income taxes.

Other states tend to rely on a broader combination of revenues, including local sales taxes, local income or license taxes, charges for services, and federal aids. In Wisconsin, state law allows only  the state to levy an income tax and reserves the sales tax for the state, counties, and a limited number of municipalities that qualify as “premier resort areas.”