GREEN BAY - Does a modest property tax cut proposal from the governor mean Wisconsin's economy is on the upswing?
Republican Governor Scott Walker announced his plan Thursday for $100 million in property tax relief.
If all other tax rates and the home's value remain the same, which is not expected to happen, the typical home's property tax would drop. This year $13. About $20 next year. That's on a typical $3,000 tax bill.
The Legislature could begin considering the proposal next week. Is this move a sign of an economic turnaround? Or the result of additional state revenue gained by state budget cuts?
“We're providing significant property tax relief yet again for the hardworking taxpayers of this state,” said Walker.
Governor Walker says his plan to lower your property tax bill was sparked by a $700 million surplus in the state budget. He attributes that surplus to a strong economy.
“Revenue growth is up in the state, it's in part a reflection of the growing economy, increases in personal income, other issues involved with economic development that are increasing in the state,” said Walker.
“There's no question that the economy has recovered to a certain extent,” said State Rep. Eric Genrich, D-Green Bay.
However, State Representative Genrich says the surplus is in large part due to budget cuts.
“The governor introduced unprecedented cuts to K-12 education and higher ed in his first budget. So as a result, there are some additional revenues now, but it certainly came at the expense of some of our very most important priorities,” said Genrich.
“I don't think this is a product of extraordinarily tight state budgeting,” said David Ward, an economist with NorthStar Consulting Group during a phone interview.
Economists tell FOX 11 the state's economy is making a comeback.
“Perhaps a little bit stronger than the rest of the country. I watch tax collections as my main indicator, and tax collections were definitely above projections,” said Ward.
Taking look at other economic indicators, Wisconsin's latest job creation numbers show the state added 24,000 private-sector jobs during a 12 month period ending in March. That's 34th in the nation.
It's a 1.1 percent increase, compared to national growth of two percent.
The governor uses these numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as a benchmark for his promise to create 250,000 new jobs during his first term.
During his first two years in office, 63,000 jobs were created.
“Nobody's been robust in the whole country. You know this is a very slow national recovery,” said Ward.
Genrich says he yet to see Governor Walker's tax cut plan in detailed form.
A reminder that this cut could be more than offset by increases from other taxing units like schools, municipalities, and technical colleges.
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