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Legislators Differ On Elimination Of Forestry Mill Tax


Two Northwoods legislators have differing opinions on the repeal of the state's Forestry Mill tax.

The tax is the state's only property tax. Governor Walker has proposed eliminating the Mill Tax and replacing it with money from the state spending.

Authorized in 1924, this revenue source has supported forestry programs that facilitated the successful recovery from the 'cut over time' when there was no Northwoods as we have today.

In 2014, the tax was estimated to be about $25 dollars for a $150,000 home.

At a recent meeting, Republican state legislators Senator Tom Tiffany and Representative Jeff Mursau disagreed on the tax's elimination.

Both legislators say even if removed, the programs will be funded for the next two years. Mursau says he supports lowering property taxes, but eliminating this tax could lead to the loss of valuable forestry and education programs and wants to take some time to see if another alternative is possible...

"....my concern is when the next session comes and when there are(general spending) dollars, everything in the state is funded by that, we're fighting for those dollars with education, with healthcare, and when it comes to forestry I'm afraid it will be one of the last things funded...."

Tiffany, a member of the state's budget writing committee, says he agrees with a statement made by Rep. John Nygren that the tax had become a type of 'slush fund'...

"....I support keeping property taxes in check, I think this is one way we can do it. I think it is time for some of the things that have been funded by the Mill Tax, to be funded by General Purpose Revenue to see if it can compete in terms of wants or needs...."

The final budget document is expected to be signed by Governor Walker in mid-summer.

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