Wisconsin cities rely more on property tax than any other Midwest state, study shows

The non-partisan Wisconsin Policy Forum found Wisconsin cities rely more on property taxes for money, than any other state in the Midwest.

That leads to Milwaukee area, and all other area's, property taxes consistently increasing. Gov Tony Evers said Thursday, state tax structure is hurting it’s largest city.

“Milwaukee is a prime example of an over reliance on property taxes,” Evers said.

WPF President Rob Henken says Wisconsin's state system of not allowing local cities to increase other methods of tax, such as a sales tax, are starting to strain budgets.

“We are seeing things like a greater number of cities turning to things like wheel tax, and other charges and fees," Henken said. "We saw more cities than we’ve ever seen in the past actually go to voters, in this past election cycle, and ask voters to exceed property tax limits.”

WPF says state laws prohibiting local sales taxes make Milwaukee very unique among similar sized cities, which utilize a sales tax to take advantage of people visiting the city.

“When we’re thinking of big cities, we’re thinking of places where commuters and visitors are consumers of city services just as much as residents.”

State payments to cities have decreased over the years, causing property taxes to rise, which Evers said needs to change.

“We’ll be looking to increase shared revenue, but we’ll also be looking to increase flexibility for our municipalities.”

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