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Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine

Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine Navigating the Property Tax

November 2014  •  Vol. 82 No. 9
$3.50 per issue

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The property tax is Wisconsin’s largest, oldest, and most confusing tax. At least five governments use the tax, and two different methods of valuing property are used to distribute taxes among property owners. One source of... Read More


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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - September 2014  •  Vol. 82 No. 8How Have Schools Fared? Wisconsin vs. U.S.

    When tax revenues dropped during the 2007-09 recession, Wisconsin school funding suffered; revenues were tightened, spending was cut, staff and compensation were reduced. However, new Census Bureau figures suggest that Wisconsin’s... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - August 2014  •  Vol. 82 No. 6/7Issues for Voters, Questions for Candidates

    The November general election is fast approaching. Wisconsin voters will select a new legislature and there's also a race for governor. When these elected officials take office in January, they will have to tackle some pressing... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - May 2014  •  Vol. 82 No. 5State Tax Rankings: Digging a Little Deeper

    State and local tax burdens are frequently compared and ranked, but the proverbial devil is often in the details. For example, at $20,000 of income, a family of four in Wisconsin had the 33rd highest income tax load in the U.S., but at... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - April 2014  •  Vol. 82 No. 4A Closer Look at Public Debt

    While federal debt continues to climb, Wisconsin’s state-local debt situation is showing some signs of improvement. Combined state-local debt grew 0.3% in 2013, its smallest increase since 2008. State debt here totaled $13.7... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - March 2014  •  Vol. 82 No. 3The Impending Storm

    The impending retirement of the baby-boom generation will have significant effects on Wisconsin’s economy over the next 30 years. As this large cohort retires, the size of Wisconsin’s workforce will stall; the working-age... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - February 2014  •  Vol. 82 No. 2To Exceed or Not To Exceed?

    Since 1994, Wisconsin school districts have held almost 950 referenda to exceed state-imposed revenue caps. In 2013, 89% were nonrecurring (for a limited time), a reversal from 1994-98 when less than 20% were. During 1994-2013, voters... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - January 2014  •  Vol. 82 No. 1Investigating Local Law Enforcement

    In 2012, Wisconsin’s 297 individual and seven joint municipal police departments protected 3.8 million of Wisconsin’s 5.7 million residents. These departments employed an average of 2.03 full-time officers per 1,000... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - December 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 12The County Sales Tax

    This year, 62 of the state’s 72 counties will impose the optional 0.5% sales tax. However, slow growth in statewide sales tax collections since 2000 raises issues about their reliability. During 2000-12, collections in 17 counties... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - November 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 11Gauging Wisconsin’s 2013 Taxes

    Total state and local taxes in 2013 rose for the fourth consecutive year to $27.4 billion, a 2.1% increase from last year. Because total state income grew faster (3.9%), Wisconsin’s state-local tax burden fell slightly to 11.3% of... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - October 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 10Does a College Degree Still “Pay?”

    More than at any time since the early 1970s, students and parents are asking whether it “pays” to earn a four-year college degree. Many factors are at work, including family expectations, inadequate high school preparation,... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - September 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 9A Closer Look At Wisconsin’s Economy

    Focusing on short-term, statewide figures can mask regional variation and long-term trends in the state economy. During 2000-12, Wisconsin’s economy lost 1.4% of its jobs, while the nation gained 1.4%. Meanwhile, western and south... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - August 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 8Window on the Wisconsin State Budget

    The recently enacted 2013-15 Wisconsin state budget authorizes the state to spend $70.38 billion over the next two years, including $2.05 billion from new borrowing. By year and excluding bonding, spending rises 3.5% in 2014 and 2.4% in... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - July 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 6/72013 Property Taxes in Review

    With tighter property tax limits in place, total property tax levies rose 0.8% to $10.47 billion in 2013. Combined with last year’s 0.2% increase, 2013 marked the first in at least 67 years that gross levies increased less than 1%... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - May 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 5Wisconsin’s Transportation Funding Dilemma

    A state commission recently found that, over the next ten years, Wisconsin will need an additional $2 billion to $7 billion to pay for its transportation needs. A slow-growing population that reduced its travel combined with more fuel... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - April 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 4The Local Squeeze?

    Since 1995, state shared revenues to municipalities and counties have been significantly reduced three times, leaving these aids below their 1990 levels. Those reductions, along with state-mandated property tax limits initiated in... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - March 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 3School Options in Wisconsin

    Public school options for Wisconsin students have expanded from one program serving about 13,000 students in a few cities in 1977 to five programs serving about 126,000 students statewide. Participation in the parental choice program in... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - February 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 2Wisconsin’s Spring Elections

    On April 2, Wisconsin voters will choose a state Supreme Court Justice and a State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In the Supreme Court race, Justice Pat Roggensack seeks to retain her seat against attorney and Marquette Law... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - January 2013  •  Vol. 81 No. 1Raising the Curtain on a New Legislature

    Republicans took control of both houses of the state legislature again, but after recall elections and redistricting, the legislature has undergone many changes from two years ago. The senate welcomes three new members, the assembly 25.... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - December 2012  •  Vol. 80 No. 12Reviewing Wisconsin’s 2012 Taxes

    Total state and local taxes rose for the third consecutive year to $26.8 billion in 2012, a 3.2% increase from last year. Because total state income grew faster (4.5%), Wisconsin’s state-local tax burden fell slightly to 11.8% of... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - November 2012  •  Vol. 80 No. 11Understanding the State-Tribal Relationship

    One of the most important powers a government has is to tax people within its territory. Taxing power is easy to identify and understand when discussing federal and state governments. However, it can be confusing when a tribe, legally a... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - October 2012  •  Vol. 80 No. 10After the Storm: School Funding in 2012

    The 2009-11 and 2011-13 state budgets had profound impacts on school districts and their finances. Aid cuts and tightened revenue limits in both state budgets squeezed school budgets. Law changes enacted in 2011 helped schools reduce... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - September 2012  •  Vol. 2012 No. 9Badger State Business Taxes

    Wisconsin businesses paid more than $8.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2011. The largest business tax was the property tax, accounting for over half the total. Businesses also paid more than $1 billion in sales (16% of the total)... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - August 2012  •  Vol. 80 No. 8A Recap of 2011-12 Property Taxes

    Property tax levies totaled $10.38 billion in 2012, up 0.2% from 2011. After subtracting more than $1 billion dollars in state-funded credits, net property taxes were $9.36 billion, also 0.2% more than the prior year. One-year changes... Read More

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    Wisconsin Taxpayer Magazine - July 2012  •  Vol. 80 No. 6/7State Funding of Local Government: How Does Wisconsin Differ From Other States?

    In 2009, Wisconsin state government funded more than 40% of local government spending, a percentage that was higher than in 42 states. Our “equalizing” state-local finance system allows poor communities to provide basic... Read More

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