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Eliminating business property tax gets bipartisan support

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bill to eliminate property taxes paid by Wisconsin businesses on equipment and furnishings is finding bipartisan support in the state Legislature.

Republicans proposed eliminating the tax and included $202 million in the state budget proposal to pay for it. A separate bill to eliminate the tax cleared a Senate committee on Tuesday with a bipartisan 4-1 vote.

The Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee planned to take up the measure on Wednesday, clearing the way for the Senate and Assembly to vote on it next week along with the budget.

Republicans and the state’s business community have long advocated for doing away with the personal property tax. Opponents argue that the tax is a burden on businesses and rife with exemptions that make its application unfair.

A wide range of more than 40 groups have registered in support of the bill, including state and local chambers of commerce, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, the Wisconsin Tavern league and groups representing builders and contractors.

Opponents include the city of Milwaukee, the AFSCME International Union and the League of Women Voters.

Milwaukee said it was concerned about the state maintaining aid to replace the lost money from the tax on business property.

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