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School districts fuel biggest property tax hike since 2009

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A new report says Wisconsin school districts are fueling the largest annual increase in property taxes in a decade.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum analyzed data from the state Department of Revenue and found school districts are levying about $5 billion in property taxes this year. That’s a 4 1/2 percent increase from last year and the largest annual increase since 2009.

School property taxes are rising by more than $220 million on December 2019 tax bills, the report said.

Wisconsin counties increased property taxes by 2.2 percent from last year, totaling about $2.3 billion. Technical colleges levied $471 million in property taxes, a 3.1 percent increase from 2018.

Wisconsin Association of School Boards spokesman Dan Rossmiller says many school districts took advantage of the increased revenue limit in the latest state budget because they have few alternatives for funding.

“The increases that the state has been allowing or providing for have largely been aimed at meeting inflation,” Rossmiller said. “So if a school district is going to keep pace with inflation, which most districts are going to want to do, then they have to utilize the revenue limit authority that they have.”

School districts, counties and technical colleges make up about two-thirds of the state’s property taxes.

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