Our state’s tax ranking has been in the news recently.
Wisconsin’s tax ranking drops to lowest levels in 49 years-
-- the headline of the April 8 BizTimes(Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin Business News)
The BizTimes online article went on to state:
"Wisconsin’s state and local tax ranking has dropped to its lowest level since 1961, according to an annual report released today by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
The report on Wisconsin state and local government tax rankings shows that Wisconsin ranks 15th among the states as measured by taxes per $1,000 personal income and ranks 21st on a per capita basis - the lowest since Wisconsin adopted the general sales tax.
Wisconsin’s rankings are their lowest in nearly 50 years and have improved for six consecutive years, unprecedented in state history, the report stated. When considering all revenue sources, Wisconsin ranks 24th per $1,000 personal income and 25th per capita."
The subject of taxes was also tackled by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a front page newspaper article on April 11 headlined Is state still a tax hell? A similar article was published online.
According to the J-S news article, Wisconsin ranks 26th in total spending by all levels of state and local government based on the latest figures and ranks 14th in total tax burden. Its explanation for the spending and tax ranking gap: Wisconsin relies less on user fees than many states, leans more than most on property and income taxes. Wisconsin lags in the amount of federal money it receives.
An examination by the Journal Sentinel indicated that Wisconsin’s “unusual insistence on taxing all types of property at equal rates puts a larger share of the tax burden on middle-class homeowners. The result: taxes on industrial property owners rank in the bottom half—and sometimes the bottom third nationally. In contrast, residential taxes are still easily top 10, and residential owners pay more than 2/3 of all property tax collections, up from half in 1970.”
The J-S article also contended that “while the state’s business climate rankings are low, taxes on businesses do not appear to be the major factor. By several measures, business taxes in Wisconsin are middle of the pack or better.” Also, “The way the state collects taxes doesn’t appear to be boosting its ability to lure growing industries. Wisconsin trailed 45 states in income growth from 2003 to 2008, mirroring other industrial states.”