Local Governments Have Less Money

May 14, 2013

After a surge in the 1990's, revenues for county and municipal governments have fallen to levels of 20 years ago.

Some results of the study by the non-profit Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance is told by WTA President Todd Berry...

"....county revenues were growing by about eight percent in the early '90's. After 2005, they've been averaging just 1.5 percent. We found similar patterns for municipalities with their revenue growth...slowing to under three percent..."

Berry says at the same time, the state was cutting back on state aid to local governments. The drop in revenue had an impact on local taxes...

".....that meant that counties and municipalities had to rely more on the property tax, so property tax relative to the size of budgets went from about 34 percent in the mid-90's to 43 percent in 2011...."

State levy limits imposed in 2005 capped the amount which municipalities and counties could increase property taxes. Levy limits helped slow average property tax growth to 3.7 percent in municipalities and 3.2 percent in counties. Counties also increased the amount of debt they owed.

The report is on the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance website.