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NEW INFORMATION: Walker signs $100 million property tax cut


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law a $100 million property tax cut.

The measure sped through the Legislature with little opposition, allowing for the cut to be applied to tax bills mailed to homeowners in December.

The amount of the cut will vary widely across the state but for the typical homeowner it will amount to just $13 this year and $20 next year.

Even under the cut, property taxes are still projected to increase by $11 -- from $2,943 to $2,954 -- in two years for the median-valued $148,000 home.

Walker and Republican backers defended the cut, as modest as it may be, as the right thing to do given the state's growing budget surplus.

Walker signed the law Sunday at a farm near Burlington.

AP-WF-10-20-13 2000GMT

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – The Senate has passed Governor Scott Walker’s $100 million property tax cut proposal and that means you’ll be saving some extra money this year and next year.

A typical homeowner would save $13 next year and $20 after that. And in this day in age, everyone’s looking to save some cash.

“Saving right now is an incredible challenge the dollar just doesn’t go anywhere anymore, soon as you get a paycheck it’s gone,” said Philip Schell, a homeowner in Eau Claire. “It’s a real challenge to decide what bill are you going to pay? Do I pay my mortgage? Do I put gas in my car? Do I put money in savings? Do I get to go on a vacation?”

Walker’s Administration said the state has an $89 million surplus so Walker wants to lower the amount homeowners pay in property taxes by $100 million.

“Not just for working families and senior citizens, particularly for small business owners and farmers this is one more thing that provides them some relief and they can use to hopefully improve their business and hire more people,” said Walker.

Tina Bann is the president-elect of the Realtors Association of Northwestern Wisconsin. She said although $13 is not a lot, property tax cut is a step in the right direction.

“It’s money homeowners can put to other things which will lead to an increase in the state's overall economy. They can take that money saved over the year and do improvements to their house or go out to dinner, spend more money at local businesses which helps the economy in general,” said Bann.

Jane Gobler is the business development manager at All Title Services, Inc. She said every little bit helps.

“I think anytime we can improve or help them with their monthly flow of payment, output for the housing, I think it’s helpful,” said Gobler.

She also said it’s been quite a while since the last decrease in property tax.

Although it's hard to argue with a tax cut, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports Wisconsin’s projected budget shortfall in 2015 will grow 33 percent to $725 million.

Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) said that’s a concern.

“I do think it’s important to bring down the property tax. I do support the bill but I also think that it’s a very small band aid to fix a very big problem and that problem should've been fixed in the budget,” said Vinehout.

And Vinehout along with other democratic lawmakers believe the property tax cut is politically timed.

“I do think that this bill is politically motivated. I do think the governor wants to be able to go back home around the state and say, I’ve lowered property taxes,” she said.

Democratic Sen. Tim Cullen, of Janesville, is one of five Democrats who voted against the bill. He said the true intent of the bill is to help Walker win re-election next year. Walker introduced the bill last week just three days after Democrat Mary Burke announced her candidacy against him.

Burke tells The Associated Press in a Tuesday interview that "no one can argue with a tax cut," but she's concerned with the growing projected budget shortfall.

Even if the projected $725 million shortfall for 2015 holds up, the projected structural deficit would be much less than the average since 1997 that's been around $1.6 billion.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate has passed Gov. Scott Walker's $100 million property tax cut proposal, sending it on to the Assembly.

The Senate passed it Tuesday on a bipartisan 28-5. All Republicans and 10 Democrats voted for it.

Democratic Sen. Tim Cullen, of Janesville, is one of five Democrats who voted against it. He says the true intent of the bill is to help Walker win re-election next year. Walker introduced the bill last week just three days after Democrat Mary Burke announced her candidacy against him.

Burke tells The Associated Press in a Tuesday interview that "no one can argue with a tax cut," but she's concerned with the growing projected budget shortfall.
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) --The Wisconsin Legislature's budget committee has unanimously approved Gov. Scott Walker's $100 million property tax cut proposal.

Tuesday's bipartisan 16-0 vote comes just before the full Senate is to take up the measure. The Assembly was scheduled to take it up Thursday. Walker has said he wants to sign it into law by the end of the week.

The tax cut is scheduled to take effect this year. It is estimated to lower property taxes on the typical home by $13 this year and $20 next year. The actual amount people pay varies widely across the state.

No one testified for or against the measure, although four registered in support. Even though Democrats voted for it, they said the savings need to be put into perspective.
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) --The projected budget shortfall the state will face in 2015 would increase 33 percent if the Legislature approves a $100 million property tax cut and other worker training bills proposed by Gov. Scott Walker.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released an analysis Tuesday showing the increased spending would grow the state's projected shortfall from $545 million to $725 million.

News about the growth in the structural deficit came the day after Walker's administration announced that the state collected $89 million more than originally expected in the last fiscal year. Even with that growth, the Fiscal Bureau report shows the deficit would grow thanks mostly to the property tax cut.

The shortfall would still be less than half of the structural deficit faced every two years since 1997.
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The Wisconsin state Senate will get the first crack at Gov. Scott Walker's $100 million property tax cut proposal.

The Senate is scheduled to take up the measure in a special session Tuesday. The bill is up for a public hearing and vote Tuesday morning in the Legislature's budget-writing Joint Finance Committee.

The plan is projected to cut property taxes on a median-valued home by $13 this year. Next year, taxes would drop $20 compared to what they would be without the $100 million cut.

Even under the cut, property taxes are still projected to increase by $11 -- from $2,943 to $2,954 -- in two years for the typical home. The actual amount people pay varies widely across the state.


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