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WPF: Property Taxes Set for Lowest Increase in Two Years

By John Forester | December 7, 2021

From WisPolitics.com …Property taxpayers are in line for smaller increases this month than they saw in the last two years, thanks to a bump in school levies, a drop for tech colleges and a rise in a state tax credit, according to the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum.With information on municipality property tax levies not available until next year, the group looked at the other major components of taxpayers’ bills in drawing its conclusion.The Wisconsin Policy Forum, which does a look at statewide property tax levies each December, found gross property tax levies for K-12 school districts are going up 0.3 percent to $5.4 billion. Property taxes for K-12 education make up the largest portion of a homeowners’ bill, and the coming increase is the smallest since the 0.1 percent hike in 2016.The Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s preliminary look at property taxes under the 2021-23 budget suggested K-12 levies would drop slightly on the 2022 bills going out this month. But the Wisconsin Policy Forum found a slight increase due to several factors, including local referendums approved by voters.The group noted that in the 115 districts that have passed a referendum since January 2020, property taxes for the 2021-22 school year will increase about 1.9 percent. In the 306 that haven’t, levies will decrease by about 0.5 percent.Meanwhile, the rise in voucher school enrollment is also impacting school levies. Districts that lose state aid because students leave for the choice program can increase property taxes to help make up for the lost state aid. Voucher enrollment rose 6.6 percent to 48,919 students in 2021-22.On other portions of the property tax bill:*county levies will rise by 2.3 percent, similar to the increase from the previous year.*levies for the state’s 16 tech college districts will fall by 3.4 percent — just the second drop in the last two decades — due to additional state aid.*levies for more than 500 special districts will grow by 2.5 percent to $122.7 million. More than 86 percent of that will be from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. Its levy grew by 3 percent, while all other special districts combined by a 0.5 percent decrease.The group also noted its analysis looked at gross property tax levies before state credits are applied. That includes the state lottery credit, which is expected to rise by $85 million this year and should help hold down overall increases.See the report here.

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