Property Taxes are Single Largest Tax for Wisconsin Residents

Wisconsinites are spending less of their money on taxes overall, but more of their tax bill are property taxes imposed by local municipalities and schools.

According to a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, “property tax levies by municipalities, schools, counties, and other local governments represent the single largest tax in the state” at 3.5 percent of personal income in 2017.

“Property taxes in Wisconsin are seen as too high because that’s the only option local governments have,” said Jerry Deschane, the executive director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. “This isn’t a spending issue, this is a how we raise revenue issue.”

The non-profit organization represents 593 of the 602 municipalities across the state, including Milwakuee and Madison. Among other things, it provides resources and lobbying efforts for its members.

Deschane said that are those property taxes remain high, they become a strain on people who don’t have the discretionary funding to re-allocate to their increased property tax bill.

“With a property tax, you can’t defer the third bedroom in your house, you have to pay the whole property tax bill,” he said. “Property taxes are very inflexible compared to people’s economic circumstances.”