Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance

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The recently-signed federal tax cut law has left tax filers with many questions.

WXPR's Ken Krall asked Randy Beard from Wipfli  CPA's and Consultants in Rhinelander to look at the law and give a brief overview of some of the changes...

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As federal officials debate tax reform, a state tax watchdog group says Wisconsin is already reforming the state property tax system.

Wisconsin Taxpayer's Alliance spokesperson David Callender says about half of the state's general fund budget goes to various assistance to local governments. Even with that, Wisconsin's property tax is 15th highest in the U.S. and also above the national average. The state's property tax is the largest tax at $11 billion per year.

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Testimony last week in Madison from municipal and county groups was nearly unanimous to overturn a tax loophole that opponents say is hurting local governments.

The tax loophole known as the "Dark Store" enables big box stores to use closed stores as comparable in tax valuations. The loophole is legal, and has enabled the companies to slash tax bills. Rhinelander has had stores use the loophole.

State Senator Janis Ringhand is a former mayor of Evansville and is a cosponsor of bills to close the loophole...

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A state tax watchdog group is reporting a large portion of the state budget actually is devoted to property tax relief in one form or another.

President Todd Berry of  Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says property tax relief is the 'tail that wags the political dog in Wisconsin'...

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April 15 is a Saturday this year, and because of a holiday in Washington, D.C. the deadline to have your taxes filed this year is April 18.

A new report by Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says a growing burden of those taxes belong to taxpayers in what is called the "middle-income' tax bracket. The report shows middle-income filers with taxable incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 are particularly affected.

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The tax watchdog organization Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance is out with a pamphlet that explains to the public just how the state's K-12 schools are financed.

As WTA spokesperson Dale Knapp explains, K-12 funding is about $11 billion dollars, but few people can easily figure out how that funding happens....

"...we thought it would be helpful to put out an 'explainer' of how some schools in Wisconsin are financed. How all of those pieces fit together, and where school districts spend their money. Helping people understand how all these pieces fit together...."

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The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance has posed the question whether the long-standing relationship between the State of Wisconsin and its counties are changing.

Called "County Government in Wisconsin: An Overview of Organization, Responsibilities, and Funding", the report shows the growing tensions.

Alliance spokesperson David Callender says the main source of tension is the counties are an arm of state government and at the same time are responsible for raising revenue on their own....

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A recent study by the tax watchdog group Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance finds just nine counties in Wisconsin had property values that were flat or declined, all of them in northern Wisconsin.

The WTA analysis is from preliminary equalized value figures collected by the state. The total taxable Wisconsin properties rose 3 percent last year. But as the Alliance's Dale Knapp reports, that's still below the pre-recession levels. He says the positive is that it's three consecutive years of growth. 10 of the state's 72 counties showed increases of 4 percent.

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The tax watchdog group Wisconsin Taypayers Alliance is out with a new report with what they say appears to be a decline in state lottery and tribal gaming revenues.

In 1987, voters amended the state Constitution to allow a state lottery, and court decisions after the vote allowed tribal gaming operations. The lottery is intended to provide property tax relief for residential properties. A WTA analysis found during the 1990's, credits to homeowners averaged about 3.5 percent. Last year that number held at 2.1 percent.

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A Northwoods C.P.A. says the recently signed PATH Act will enable people who have been getting tax breaks to continue them.

Last week Congress passed and President Obama signed the Protecting Americans fromTax Hikes Act of 2015. Northland CPA's Director of Tax Services Brian Wild says taking care of this matter now gives taxpayers a chance to plan..

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Following a five-year decline, the current market value of all taxable property in Wisconsin rose for the second consecutive year, rising 2.4 percent  in 2015. However, at $490 billion, values remain almost $25 bil­lion below the 2008 market peak, according to a soon-to-be-released report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

While southern Wisconsin appears to be recovering, Alliance spokesperson Dale Knapp says northern Wisconsin values are lagging. He thinks the demographics in the Northwoods are playing a part in the lower property values..

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Ten years ago the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance warned of a shift in Wisconsin's demographics and the negative impact it could have on the economy....

"....none of this is surprising, I guess the problem is none of us want to pay attention to it..."

...that's Todd Berry, president of the tax watchdog group, Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. They're out with an update on the shift, some of which is already coming true.

Wisconsin Spends More on Local Policing

Mar 6, 2014
Edward Kimmel

Wisconsin municipalities spend more than the national average on policing, a new report finds.  The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance finds communities spent an average of $288 dollars per person in 2011 – the 12th highest rate in the nation. 

Stephanie Rubin, policy research analyst for the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, says that spending went up more than 18 percent between 2007 and 2011. 

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The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance in Madison looked over 12 years of data beginning in 2000. The county sales taxes came into vogue in the 1980's as a way to offset rising property tax rates.

Spokesperson Dale Knapp says the collections did little to offset property taxes. He said some counties found a reliable revenue stream, but for most others, it wasn't that good...

 

Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance

2013 state and local taxes fell slightly and federal taxes rose according to a tax watchdog group.

The non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance has a new report on 2013 tax collections.

Stephanie Rubin is a WISTAX research analyst...

 

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