February 10, 2016

Governor signs $100 million property tax cut

Governor Scott Walker (File photo)

Governor Scott Walker (File photo)

Governor Scott Walker signed a $100 million statewide cut in local property taxes.

The governor held the signing ceremony before about 100 legislators, government leaders and supporters at the Rice Family Farm in the town of Burlington. Walker said it’s been reported the bill is a big win for him, but he said he wanted to correct that statement. “It’s a big win for our farmers; it’s a big win for senior citizens; it’s a big win for working families; it’s a big win for small business owners; it’s a big win for the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin.”

The Republican governor told those attending the bill signing ceremony that he would cut property taxes every year he’s in office. Walker said when he was running for office, increases in property taxes were a common complaint.

AUDIONoting the bill got broad bi-partisan support, despite the comments of some Democrats, the governor said property taxes went up under the previous administration. :24

The average homeowner, with a property value of $148,000, will pay $31 less than he/she would have expected over the next two years.

The aid is being funneled through the state school aid formula, which means the richest areas will get the smallest tax relief, if any. The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says people in almost 1/5 of the state’s 424 school districts will get little or no relief. In Racine County, where the bill was signed, the average home will get between two cents a year and just over $17.

The tax cut was sped through the bill-making process in just 10 days during a special session. Republicans said taxpayers deserve to get back some of the state’s $760 million surplus that was built up in the last budget period. They also said it’s not necessarily true that the tax cut will add to a state deficit in 2015, because the projections do not take economic growth into account.

Democrats said the whole thing was a political gimmick to help Walker get re-elected in just over a year from now.

Janet Hoff, WRJN Racine

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