Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called for a property tax freeze on the 2010 campaign trail, one of several tax promises he made in his bid for governor.
In his first two-year budget, Walker included a tax-levy limit measure that includes what he called a property tax freeze on county and municipal governments.
The provision toughened a tax-levy limit that was already in place -- the main mechanism for the state to force local units of government to comply with a cap or a freeze.
The best description we found was from the Wisconsin Counties Association: "The Governor wants to set allowable levy increase for the next two years at 0 percent or the net increase in new construction, whichever is higher.”
The old cap allowed a 3 percent increase, according to the state"s Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Major media and interest groups termed Walker"s proposal a tax "freeze” because of that harder cap.
Taxes could still go up slightly based on new construction, but that is an allowance for new tax base rather than increased taxation of the existing properties.
The fiscal bureau estimated the Walker-proposed limits would result in a tax increase of $23, or 0.8 percent, for a median value home on the bill that will go out in December 2011, the Journal Sentinel reported. The following year the increase on such a home would be $13, or 0.4 percent.
"The school revenue cap tightening -- with an actual reduction -- is certainly the most restrictive we have seen in the history of revenue limits,” said Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a nonpartisan research organization. "The municipal and county revenue limits … are tighter than they have been since levy limits returned earlier in the decade. And the levy freeze for technical colleges is, I believe, unprecedented.”
The freeze is moving through the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Walker may be well on his way to keeping this promise, but we can"t pass final judgment until a final bill is passed and signed.
For now, we label it In The Works.