Gov. Evers, Democrats repeal outdated personal property tax, vetoing companion bill

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A calculator and tax books (Nexstar, file)

(WFRV) – Gov. Tony Evers, together with State Senator Brad Pfaff (D-Onalaska) and State Representative Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa), introduced legislation repealing Wisconsin’s outdated personal property tax.

According to a release, these officials are also creating a new state aid payment to compensate local governments for their lost revenue. Gov. Evers says it will continue the much-needed support everyone needs as they try to get back to a new normal.

“This legislation will continue our efforts to support businesses and families as they bounce back from the pandemic while ensuring our local governments have the aid they need to remain whole,” says Gov. Evers.

Vetoing companion bill – Assembly Bill 191

Government officials say Assembly Bill 191 was vetoed due to the haphazard process while it was being drafted and passed. They say the bill could have created problems for railroad taxes and the manufacturing and agriculture credit, as well as the potential for the state to lose millions in taxes owed by utility companies.

After vetoing Assembly Bill 191, Gov. Evers says he called on Republicans in the Legislature to work with his administration and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to pass a more comprehensive bill to repeal the personal property tax that addressed these problems.

Fixing problems and unintended consequences – LRB-4737

The bill announced Wednesday, LRB-4737, fixes a number of problems and unintended consequences associated with 2021 Assembly Bill 191 and exempts from property taxation all property classified as personal property.

Officials say the new bill also makes a number of technical changes to state statutes to simplify the tax code and prevent adverse effects, which include:

  • Continuing payments for rail terminals to municipalities.
  • Repealing the tax on railroad personal property and creating an appropriation to ensure the transportation fund remains whole.
  • Clarifying language in state statutes governing the manufacturing and agriculture credit to ensure there is no impact on claimant eligibility.

Government officials say LRB-4737 repeals the personal property tax in a responsible way by fully reimbursing local governments for their lost revenue and providing this funding on an ongoing basis with inflationary increases each year.

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