Wisconsin State and Local Tax Burden Hits 50-year Low

Wisconsin’s tax burden continued its slide last year, hitting its lowest level in at least 50 years, according to a report being released Tuesday.

State and local taxes ate up 10.2% of Wisconsinites’ income in 2020, according to the report from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum. That’s the lowest it’s been since at least 1970, the report says.

Wisconsin’s tax ranking compared to other states continues to fall as well. In 2018 — the latest year for which U.S. Census Bureau information is available — Wisconsin had the 23rd highest state and local taxes, down from 17th place a year earlier, according to the policy forum.

That put Wisconsin in better standing than three of its neighbors — Minnesota (ranked seventh highest), Illinois (12th highest) and Iowa (13th highest). Michigan ranked 30th for its tax burden.

Wisconsin’s tax burden has been shrinking for years. In 1994, state and local takes took up 13.1% of personal income. By 2019, they took up 10.3%. The dip last year was just a tenth of a percentage point, but that was enough to put it at the lowest level in at least half a century.