Out with the old (taxes), in with the new (taxes)

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published March 1, 2003  | March 2003 issue

Two reports by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance showed that the state made small gains in the rate of tax increases but was not likely to shed its image as a high-tax state anytime soon.

Cumulatively, Wisconsin residents and businesses paid better than $53 billion to local, state and federal governments in 2003. That might sound like—and is—a lot of money, but it represented just a 1.4 percent increase over the previous year. What's more, income last year grew 3.4 percent, which meant that tax collections as a percentage of income actually shrank, albeit slightly, from 34.3 percent to 33.7 percent, the WTA report said.

A second report released just before the end of the year also found that counties saw their property tax levies increase an average of 5 percent. Two counties in the district—Vilas and Forest in eastern Wisconsin—saw their tax levies jump by more than 15 percent. Rusk and Price counties were two of eight counties among the 72 that saw declines in their total levies. But while the average statewide levy rate increase easily outstripped both inflation and annual income growth, it was nonetheless the smallest rate increase in more than a decade.

Ronald A. Wirtz