Wisconsin Republicans considering property tax cut in 2020

MADISON — Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature are considering a property tax cut proposal that would be introduced early in 2020, the leader of the state Senate said Friday.

Discussion of a property tax cut comes in the wake of homeowners receiving the tax bills in December. Those bills could amount to the largest property tax increase in 10 years, the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum said in a report earlier this week.

“People are a little surprised,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said at a news conference.

Republican senators are in the early stages of putting together a tax cut proposal, but there's no targeted amount yet, he said. That will partly depend on the state's tax revenue forecast, which is looking good and will be updated next month, Fitzgerald said.

The amount of the cut must be substantial enough to garner support to do it, he said.

One option being discussed is shifting some of the money that currently funds technical colleges off the property tax bill and onto the state's general fund, Fitzgerald said.

“I wouldn't take anything off the table,” he said.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos “seems to be open” to cutting property taxes, Fitzgerald said. Vos and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Any tax cut the Legislature may pass would have to be signed by Evers before becoming law.

The state budget Evers signed earlier this year cut income taxes for the middle class by about 10%.

Fitzgerald is running for Congress to replace retiring Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner in the 5th Congressional District that includes suburban counties to the north and west of Milwaukee. He is the only Republican candidate in the conservative district. Democrat Tom Palzewicz is also running.