Rep. Robin Vos on the Good News for Property Taxes
Gov. Scott Walker announced Monday that property taxes went down for the first time in 12 years. Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) says the good news also includes an uptick in new business start-ups, proving that budget reforms are working.
If you haven’t already heard the good news, let me be the first to share it with you. Statewide property taxes went down for the first time in 12 years.
You read it right. Property taxes went DOWN not up. This reverses the trend of tax increases every year for more than a decade. In fact, since 1998, property taxes have risen 43 percent. This year the tax bill for the median value home went down .4 percent. That amounts to at least $39 back in your pocket. To those naysayers who quip, “That isn’t much,” I say consider what was first believed to be the case for property taxpayers. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau initially estimated the average homeowner would have paid an additional $700 over the biennium. What a great reversal!
Taxpayers and many school districts around the state are experiencing the benefits of our budget reforms. First, we eliminated a $3.6 billion budget deficit in Wisconsin and balanced our state budget. We also gave schools and municipalities the tools to balance their own budgets while maintaining important services to their communities. It was those school districts that didn’t fully utilize our reforms that increased taxes on their homeowners or had to lay off workers. The Milwaukee, Kenosha and Janesville school districts accounted for 68 percent of teacher layoffs for the entire state, but contain only 12.8 percent of Wisconsin students.
Now we’re beginning to see the benefits across the state; school districts are saving money, taxpayers are getting money back and more people are going back into the workforce. I think it’s also important to point out that there is the large increase of new business start-ups. The Department of Financial Institutions reports that new business development increased 16.9 percent during the first two months of the year compared to the same time last year. We put in place legislation that has helped turn around the business climate in Wisconsin.
Recently, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank predicted Wisconsin will have the best economic turnaround in the nation. With the news of the property tax decline and the other positive job indicators, I think we all have a good reason to be optimistic for the financial future of Wisconsin and its taxpayers.