This is the second in a series of posts taking a closer look at legislative study committees that recently completed their work on topics related to taxes, K-12 education and public schools.
This time we’ll examine the work of the Legislative Council Study Committee on Property Tax Assessment Practices (a/k/a the “dark store” study committee), which met for the last time last week and voted to recommend three bills for the Joint Legislative Council to introduce in the 2019-20 session. Continue reading Legislative Council study committees wrap up work (Part 2)
When the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding held its final meeting on Dec. 19, it was clear that the voices of school leaders who testified at hearings held around the state and those who submitted written comments were heard. As Commission members worked their way through option papers on various school funding topics, the stories school leaders told were frequently cited.
See Statements from the co-chairs: Rep. Kitchens; Sen. Olsen
In the same way school leaders advocated effectively to persuade the legislators who were members of the Commission, now it will be time for school leaders to advocate with their own legislators to ensure these vital recommendations become law. Continue reading School voices heard by commission but the real work is just beginning
A special study committee created to try to curb a practice that has resulted in shifting property taxes from “big box” retailers and pharmacy chains onto homeowners and small businesses may hold its final meeting tomorrow and a measure affecting schools is on its agenda.
The Legislative Council Study Committee on Property Tax Assessment Practices has thus far not to be able to resolve key differences among its members over what to do about these practices that have handcuffed local property assessors and municipalities. The study committee is set to meet at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow (Dec. 11) in Room 412 East, State Capitol. Continue reading “Dark Store” study committee to meet tomorrow, perhaps for final time
Voters gave overwhelming approval to local referendum requests to exceed state-imposed revenue limits yesterday.
A total of 38 operating referenda were on the Nov. 6 ballot.
According to media reports, voters approved 21 of 24 ballot questions (87.5 percent) seeking approval of non-recurring revenue limit exemptions and approved 13 of 14 questions (93 percent) asking for recurring exemptions to the revenue limit. (Results at this point are unofficial.)
Continue reading School operating referenda passage rates rise again
This is the third of a series of blog posts that takes a look at special education requirements and funding, including both state and federal funding. This post focuses on state funding.
At one time, Wisconsin statutes directed that special education categorical aid reimburse 70 percent of a school district’s eligible aidable costs. Today, special education categorical aid reimburses scarcely more than 25 percent of eligible aidable prior year costs. This blog post traces this decline.
Continue reading A closer look at Special Education funding in Wisconsin—Part three of a series
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Gov. Scott Walker has pledged to restore the state’s commitment to cover two-thirds of school costs without raising property taxes. State Supt. Tony Evers, the Democratic challenger, promised the same when he released his education plan.
Two-thirds funding was a commitment established in state law in 1993 to reduce the burden on property taxes. This commitment was repealed in the 2003-05 state budget. In December 2017, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) estimated that state support in the 2017-18 school year would be 64.8%. With no per pupil adjustment to revenue limits and an infusion of per pupil categorical aid ($190 million) from the state and a modest increase in state general aid ($73 million), the percentage was projected by the LFB to increase to 65.8% in 2018-19.
It should be noted that returning to the state providing two-thirds funding alone does not necessarily mean additional resources for school districts. The way two-thirds funding is calculated, all of the increase from the state could go into levy credits, which would reduce property tax bills but would not increase school budgets one dime. Or if general aids are increased but revenue limits are not adjusted, it could simply mean a higher percentage of that capped amount would come from the state and the percentage from property taxes would decrease correspondingly.
A new memorandum prepared by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) at the request of state Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) finds that the property tax bill estimate for taxes levied in 2017 and payable in 2018 for the statewide median-valued home is $27 higher than earlier estimated.
The new LFB memo updates an estimate of the property tax bill on the statewide median-valued home for the same tax year that was prepared when the state budget (2017 Wisconsin Act 59) was signed into law in September 2017. The new memo is based on final property tax levies and property tax credit distributions. Both memos used actual equalized property valuations.
The new memo shows the net tax bill on the median-valued home rose from $2,852 in 2016 to $2,876 in 2017, an increase of $24. The earlier memo had estimated a decrease of $3.
Continue reading New LFB memo finds last year’s property tax bill on median-valued state home $27 higher than originally estimated