Property Tax Rates Down Because of Levy Limits, Higher Values

Property-tax rates have decreased in Wisconsin for a fifth straight year in 2019 following strong growth in property values coupled with modest increases in local property-tax levies.

These findings come from the Wisconsin Policy Forum’s new 2019 Property Values and Taxes Data Tool. This system provides data for all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and 1,852 cities, villages and towns, most of it culled from the state Department of Revenue. It’s the latest in a series of databases from the Forum meant to provide Wisconsinites with facts about their state’s economy, schools and local governments.

The state saw its equalized property values grow by 5.7% in 2019. Meanwhile, gross property-tax levies for the 2019 tax year increased by 1.7% statewide. Because the growth in values exceeded the growth in levies, the statewide gross property-tax rate declined by 2.7% from $20.94 per $1,000 of value to $20.38.

In the seven counties in southeast Wisconsin — Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha and Washington — the region’s equalized property values increased by 5.6%, the largest annual increase in the past decade. Property-tax-levy collections increased by 0.9% for southeast Wisconsin, which was similar to the rate of growth seen in each of the past two years. As a result, the region’s tax rate declined for the fifth straight year, by 3.6%, reaching its lowest level since 2010.

Property values in Dane County increased by 7.6% in 2019, while the aggregate property-tax levy in the county increased by 2.7%. As a result, the aggregate property-tax rate there decreased by 3.9%.