Legislative hot flashes
The likely final version of the state’s global warming bill is now out. The MacIver News Service has the story behind the latest version and also links to the legislative summary. Unchanged, among other things, is the provision in the bill which would allow local government units to raise property taxes through the roof, a serious problem with the bill that I wrote about for the MacIver Institute last week.
Wisconsinites can also expect to see their local property tax bills increase under the proposed law because of a provision allowing local governments to bypass local spending caps if the expenditures are to increase “energy efficiency” and purchase renewable energy products. Current law prohibits any city, village, town, or county from increasing its tax levy by a percentage that exceeds its “valuation factor,” which is defined as either 3 percent or the percentage change in the equalized value due to new construction, whichever is greater. The proposed exception to the cap is large enough to drive an ethanol-powered bus through.
According to Tom Larson of the Wisconsin Realtors Association, “The sky is the limit” with the potential for local property tax increases because the definition of what would qualify as an exception is left to the Department of Administration to determine. There is no way to know what the potential for property tax increases could be because a city, town, village or county could do anything from a wind farm to large solar panels on every building.