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Barrett, Falk campaign on lifting property tax ceilings


UNDATED (WSAU) The two leading Democrats in the governor’s recall election are criticizing the tight limits on local property tax increases that Republicans imposed a year ago. Kathleen Falk said she would repeal those caps, while Tom Barrett stopped short of making that promise. Because of those limits, Republican Governor Scott Walker and the state Revenue Department said yesterday that the average local taxes went down last year for the first time since 1999.

Revenue officials said the total property tax levy rose by 0.2-percent, to almost $9.4-billion dollars. But that was less than the percentage of new construction which increased the tax base. So the average property tax went down by 0.4-percent, to $2,951 dollars on a median home valued at $157,600.

Walker and legislative Republicans imposed the tight limits on property tax hikes so local and school officials couldn’t raise those taxes by large amounts to make up for losses in state aid. But Phil Walzak of the Barrett campaign said the caps are quote, “absolute and draconian” – and they don’t account for adjustments in inflation or economic growth.