Alder Mark Clear
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Opposing property tax exemptions
This coming Tuesday the council will consider a resolution I authored opposing state legislation that would provide a property and sales tax exemption for broadcast facilities. The bill, AB5, has bipartisan sponsorship and is supported by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. Studio equipment, cameras, recorders, remote trucks, office equipment would all be exempt. Digital broadcasting equipment is already exempt under a law passed in 2000.
Don't expect to hear about this on your local TV news, for obvious reasons.
If passed, this new exemption would cost the city of Madison about $220,000 per year--that's almost three police officers, or all of our lifeguards and ice rinks.
This is part of a growing and disturbing trend by the legislature of carving out special-interest tax breaks. I consider these particular exemptions more egregious, because there is no public purpose or "benevolent organization" that gets the break. Nobody has been able to explain to me why these exemptions are fair or justified.
Wisconsin used to have a pretty fair system of taxation, with a balance between property taxes and income taxes. Cities collect property taxes directly, and income taxes indirectly because the state collects them and distributes a portion to local governments. As recently as 2000, Madison was funded 64% by property tax and 21% by state aid. (The rest is direct city-generated revenue, everything from parking tickets to building permits to room tax to dog licenses.)
In the past dozen years or so, things have changed. State aid to cities has been declining, putting more pressure on property taxes. In 2013, state aid accounts for only 13% of city funding, and property taxes are 72%. You can see this on your tax bill. In my six years on the council, city spending has gone up 24% while the property tax levy has gone up 31%. That's a 28% difference in growth rates, directly caused by the decrease in state aid.
How has the legislature responded? By putting strict limits on cities' ability to increase property taxes, and by making more property exempt.
People often ask me why their property taxes go up while city services are reduced. This is why.
I welcome your questions and comments about this or any other city issue. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-695-5709.
Subscribe to this blog and get e-mail updates on many other city topics by joining my.cityofmadison.com at the link below.
Email to a friend
Subscribe to Email List
Subscribe to the Alder Clear, District 19 email list:
- Coming soon: property tax installments
- Fire Station 2 Remodel
- Say farewell to Capt. Lengfeld with ...
- When will my leaves be picked up?
- Winter storm Saturday update
- Winter storm update
- 2012 City Budget Recap
- City Budget Week: Things to watch
- In defense of the Edgewater TIF
- New Midtown police district likely t...
- No, we are not closing the Ashman Li...
- Opposing property tax exemptions
- Redevelopment at 5225 University Avenue
- Two University Crossing meetings thi...
- University Crossing approved by Comm...
- University Crossing approved by Plan...
- University Crossing Update
- Did you vote yet? Polls are open unt...
- Going away for Spring Break? Vote Fi...
- Important Tuesday election info
- Vote on Tuesday!
- Vote on Tuesday!
- Vote on Tuesday!
- Beltline closed tonight!
- North Gammon Road: meeting results a...
- Old Middleton on-ramp to be closed M...
- Old Middleton ramp closed starting M...
- Reminder: Old Middleton on-ramp clos...
- University Avenue Construction Survi...
- University Avenue pre-construction i...
- University Avenue repaving -- Surprise!
- Unversity Avenue lane shift coming M...
- Unversity Avenue lane shift coming T...
- What's happening on N. Gammon Road?
- About Little Manhattan
- ATC power line open house Thursday
- District 19 News and Notes for March 10
- District 19 News and Notes, March 31...
- District news and notes December 1
- District News and Notes for December 8
- District News and Notes for March 1
- District News and Notes for March 26
- MedDrop event this Saturday
- Neighborhood news and notes for Apri...
- Neighborhood news and notes for July 8
- Neighborhood news and notes for Sept...
- No water in Spring Harbor area
- Police training exercises at Spring ...
- Siren testing on Saturday 3/16/13
- Spring Harbor water back on
- Spring Harbor water outage follow up
- Surprise! Half-Marathon in our neigh...
- The legislature's war on cities
- The next two years
- Zoning Map Open House