Wisconsin’s personal property tax up for repeal 

An article from the Capital Times has reported the possibility of repeal for Wisconsin’s personal property tax, which was implemented as a means of funding the territorial government in the 1830s before Wisconsin attained statehood. Wisconsin had no income or sales tax it could rely on at the time.  

The tax has been modified on several occasions already and is viewed by many as an unnecessary burden on business owners, who pay a sales tax with each item purchased and continue to pay the personal property tax for the duration of their ownership. Efforts to eliminate the tax have received support from Republicans and Democrats alike but have so far only resulted in achieving a series of exemptions.  

The legislation will need to address issues such as compensation for local governments with the loss of personal property taxes; Republicans may include this compensation, which could amount to as much as $200–300 million, in the 2023–25 state budget. Personal property has accounted for between 2.2–2.6% of the state’s property tax base since 2005.  

The latest proposal was written in consultation with the state Department of Revenue. More than 50 groups are registered to lobby in favor of the proposal, and a spokesperson for Gov. Evers has noted the governor’s repeated support for repealing the tax. The League of Wisconsin Municipalities is registered against the bill.