Overall Property Taxes in Wisconsin Will See Biggest Increase Since 2007

Overall property taxes in Wisconsin are expected to climb by the largest amount since 2007, despite increased state funding for local governments.

That’s according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum. It analyzed confirmed property taxes from school districts, technical colleges and county governments, along with Legislative Fiscal Bureau projections for municipalities.

While gross local property taxes are anticipated to rise by 4.7 percent — the most since 2007 — the state budget boosted two tax credits that will help offset the increase, the report said. That includes increasing the school levy tax credit by $255 million and the state lottery tax credit by $15.9 million.

Ari Brown, a researcher for Wisconsin Policy Forum and the report’s author, said those credits will help keep property taxes in-line with pre-pandemic increases, while also boosting revenue for local governments and schools.

He said counties and municipalities are limited in how much they can increase their property tax levy by their amount of net new construction. That should keep increases to those taxes relatively in-line with increases they’ve experienced in recent years, he added.

For example, Wisconsin’s counties will increase their gross property taxes by 2.6 percent this year. Last year, they increased property taxes by 3.2 percent, the report said. The state Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects municipal property taxes will rise by 3.4 percent.

Meanwhile, property taxes for school districts are expected to rise by over 5 percent from last year, the largest increase since 2009. Brown said that increase is largely due to a state-approved $325 per pupil increase to school districts’ revenue limits.

“We haven’t had a per pupil revenue limit increase — even on an inflationary basis — like this in quite a while, so that is really the driving factor behind school district property taxes increasing as much as they are,” Brown said.