Posted on

Personal property tax repeal long overdue

Imagine you buy a new table saw for your shop. As a private individual or farmer you would pay the sales tax on the saw and be done with it.

If you are a business owner, not only do you pay the sales tax on the table saw, but every year you have to pay property taxes to your local municipality based on the value of that saw. This goes on for as long as you own it.

Personal property taxes are a way governments pick the pockets of businesses on an annual basis. Since it is up to the businesses to self-report and keep track of this taxable property, the system is erratic based on the judgement call and ethics of the people filling out the tax forms.

In 2017, under former Gov. Scott Walker, the state legislature eliminated a portion of the personal property tax burden. It is time to finish the job and end the personal property taxes in the state.

The Wisconsin legislature should move quickly to approve Assembly Bill 191 and Senate Bill 189, legislation repealing the state’s personal property tax. Under current law, many businesses have to pay taxes to local government on the value of equipment, office furniture and other materials. The bills, which were introduced by Sen. Duey Stroebel of Cedarburg and Rep. Dan Knodl of Germantown, would eliminate this burden on business owners while also keeping local governments whole by increasing the amount of state shared revenue to match the amount of personal property taxes paid to municipalities in the previous year. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state will need to provide another $188 million in aid to local municipalities in the state to cover the lost revenue. With Wisconsin’s year-end surplus projected to be $1.9 billion in the black, the state can easily absorb the additional obligations to local governments without risking funding for other programs.

Eliminating the personal property tax will have direct benefits for business by reducing their overall tax obligation, and saving business owners time and money in preparing the costly, complex and confusing personal property tax forms.

Contact Rep. James Edming and Sen. Jerry Petrowski and tell them to vote yes to repeal the personal property tax as a way to help Wisconsin businesses. Many businesses throughout the state suffered losses due to the pandemic. Eliminating the personal property tax this year will give those businesses a boost and help speed the post-pandemic recovery