Public Policy Forum Blog

Taxing work: How does your municipality rank?

This year, for the first time, the Public Policy Forum has created a poster ranking all 147 municipalities in southeastern Wisconsin on the basis of the following information: property values, per capita property value, 5 year change in property values, gross tax levy*, 5 year change in the tax levy, and net tax rate**.

Of the ten municipalities with the highest tax rates in southeastern Wisconsin, all but two - the villages of Darien and Sharon in Walworth County - were located in Milwaukee County. The village of West Milwaukee (Milwaukee County) topped the list with a net tax rate of $25.55 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Not surprisingly the city of Milwaukee had the largest overall tax base (or property value) in the region. But, surprisingly, the city of Brookfield (Waukesha County) came in second, larger than even the cities of Kenosha (Kenosha County), which was third, and Racine (Racine County), which was 10th! The largest property value increase in the region occurred in the village of Merton (Waukesha County), where it more than doubled over the last five years.

Southeastern Wisconsin had $178 billion in property value in 2006, a 44% increase from five years ago. Its per-capita property value was $89,844. The region’s gross tax levy in 2007 was $3 billion, an increase of 18% from five years ago, and the net tax rate was $17.52.

The poster, Southeastern Wisconsin Property Taxes 2007, was funded by Cook & Franke S.C., Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., and the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors, and was done as a part of the Forum’s property values and property tax reports.

*Gross tax levy is the amount of money that each taxing jurisdiction budgets to receive from property taxes.
**Net tax rate is determined by dividing the amount of the gross tax levy minus the state tax credits by the total equalized value.
Jeffrey Schmidt