State Aid Slows Property Tax Growth

Each December, the Wisconsin Policy Forum examines preliminary state data on property tax levies from school districts, counties, technical colleges, and special districts. (Figures for municipalities are not available until early next year.) The data give a crucial early look at collections from Wisconsin’s largest single tax, which serves as a key source of funding for local services such as education, public safety, and local roads.

Property tax bills being mailed out this month for 2022 show an increase in gross property taxes for Wisconsin’s K-12 school districts of just 0.3%, from $5.38 to $5.40 billion. This is the smallest percentage increase in school district levies since a 0.1% increase in 2016.

Property tax levies for counties will rise by 2.3% statewide, similar to the increase from last year. Levies for Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges will fall by 3.4% – just their second decline of the 21st century – due to additional state aid dollars.

Notably, this analysis looks at gross property tax levies before state credits are used to lower the net bills for property taxpayers. While two of the state credits essentially will stay the same, the state lottery credit is budgeted to rise by $85 million this year, which should help to hold overall property taxes for home and business owners to one of the smallest increases in recent years.