Part of the story on property taxes

The Cap Times picked up an A.P story on a Legislative Fiscal Bureau report on property taxes. The article says in part:

Taxes paid to schools are by far the largest chunk of a homeowner’s tax bill. They increased 7.4 percent this year.

The biggest thing missing here is that the delay in the state budget resulted in $79.3 million in school funding being shifted from state general revenues to local property taxes. As the report notes:

If the 2007-8 school taxes are reduced by the $79.3 million in additional school levy tax credit funding, a net school tax levy increase of $199.5 million (5.3%) would result.

So 5.3% not 7.4%. This shift was a one time thing (we hope).

Real increases for 2007-8 in combined state and local school spending are about 3.7%, or half of the quoted 7.4%, The 2007-9 budget deal also included a $264 (2.8%) increase in per member revenues, and increases in some categorical aids; but moved further away from the 2/3 state funding leg of the “three legged stool, leading to a more permanent increase in the percentage of school revenues dependent on local property taxes. Instead of 66.6% support, this year the state will provide about 63.0% and next year (without the school tax levy credit games) 64.9% (calculations based on this LFB paper). These are aggregate estimates and the ratios for individual school districts vary greatly. Madison gets about 41% of of our revenues from the state.

Some other things of note in the report released today.

  • Residential taxpayers paid 71% of property taxes (same as last year)
  • The share of property taxes paid by the manufacturing sector dropped from 3.4% to 3.3%. This share is already lower than the real property value because of the “manufacturing and equipment exemption.”
  • The total value of taxable property in Wisconsin increased 6.2%; net tax levies increased 6.0%; gross tax levies by 6.3%.

As Paul Harvey would say “Now you know the rest of the story.” I just wish the wire services and papers would do better on this.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under Elections, Uncategorized, We Are Not Alone

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