Homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief.
After years of out-of-control property tax increases, Wisconsin will finally have a permanent property tax freeze.
Last year, property taxes took a $9.4 billion bite out of homeowners’ wallets. According to the non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, the average Wisconsinite spent 4.5 percent of their income on property taxes alone.
In an historic vote, the Joint Committee on Finance on May 12 approved a permanent property tax freeze.
Wisconsin has a $3.6 billion budget deficit. When your family budget is short, you sit down at the kitchen table and find a way to do more with less. In these tough times, government, too, must find a way to do more with less.
Throughout the budget deliberations, I have committed to not raising taxes. However, we simply cannot pass the buck onto local homeowners. That’s why, in addition to no state tax increases, we need to ensure that local property taxes remain frozen as well.
Under the proposal approved by the committee, tax levies would be frozen for two years. After that, tax levies could increase by only 1.5 percent per year. A set levy limit will give taxpayers the certainty they need as they set their family budgets.
We have created levy limits, but we have also given more control to municipal governments to manage their own budgets. That way local officials can preserve vital core services while controlling costs.
By reducing state mandates and giving local units of government more flexibility in their operations, government can do more with less.
We are giving certainty to both local government officials and to the property taxpayers.
Wisconsin’s taxpayers need relief. For far too long, we’ve spent beyond our means. Wisconsin will finally have a budget that recognizes the taxpayers’ ability to pay and puts us on a sustainable financial path.
Sen. Alberta Darling represents the 8th Senate District, which includes Fox Point, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay and Menomonee Falls.