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Walker Touts Property Tax Savings On His Watch

Democrats Argue Cuts Come At A Cost To Other Areas Like Schools

Scott Walker
Morry Gash/AP Photo

Gov. Scott Walker has started touring the state to highlight property tax cuts under his administration.

The Republican governor boasts tax savings have piled up for homeowners since he took office six years ago, saying that for the median-valued home in Wisconsin, annual property taxes are $116 lower than they were in 2010.

At a stop Tuesday in Waukesha, Walker told reporters some homeowners are no longer reluctant about opening their property tax envelope.

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“People who finally actually are all right, and sometimes even eager, to open up their property tax bill because of the tremendous savings and reforms we’ve enacted,” Walker said.

But some Democrats argue Walker has left some costs out of the equation.

State Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, pointed out that voters in dozens of Wisconsin school districts have passed local building referendums cutting into any property tax savings to offset flagging education funding.

“In fact, 139 school districts voted to raise their own property taxes $625 million,” Hintz said. “So for many districts, they’re not going to see much of a property tax cut if they have to make up for the school cuts Gov. Walker made.”

Walker casts those referendums as an opportunity for local control.

“That’s the choice taxpayers get to make at our local level,” to go beyond the state-set tax limits, Walker said.

He said the six- year cumulative savings for property taxpayers now top $1,700 per home, if you factor in the four-year tax trend before he took office in 2011.

But Hintz said many districts without new revenue have had to make cuts that have hurt the schools. Hintz charged Walker is on a soundbite tour.