April 10, 2004

Madison Property Taxes: "Everybody's Richer"

According to city assessor Ray Fisher Friday when 2004 property assessments were released. "My house went up 10 percent this year. I look at it as money in my pocket." - Beth Williams writes. Interesting perspective.... Can't say that I agree with Ray on that one. Bill Novak writes:

"Last year, assessments went up 8.6 percent and the local real estate tax was up 7.1 percent, according to the Assessor's Office. In 2002, assessments were up 8.1 percent and taxes went up 3.2 percent. In 1997 and 1999, assessments went up and taxes went down." What about 1998, 2000 and 2001?

There has been talk in the state legislature of completely shifting school taxes from the property tax to other sources, such as the sales tax. Wayne Wood, a retiring representative from Janesville and Rep Mickey Lehman (R-Hartford) developed a proposal that would have used a sales tax increase to reduce property taxes for schools.

Michigan dramatically changed their school finance system a few years ago, substantially reducing property taxes, in return for an increase in sales taxes.

My view is that the time is long past to remove school spending from Wisconsin's high property taxes. Every Wisconsin property owner should reasonably expect:

  • Actual property taxes (not mill rate or assessed value) should increase at a rate not to exceed the past 12 month's Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • Increases beyond the CPI would only occur if one or more of the following occur
    • Property is sold
    • Building Permit is issued, increasing the value of the home

How should we replace some of the property tax revenues?

  • Sales Tax
  • Gas Tax
  • Vehicle License Fees (tied to value as well as fuel economy - am I dreaming?)

Political paralysis on this issue can only lead to drastic measures in the not too distant future.

Related Links: Assessor's office | Wis Taxpayer's Alliance (lots of useful information)

Posted by James Zellmer at April 10, 2004 8:56 PM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Business | Education | Taxes