Wisconsin Property Tax = Forestry Mill Tax

While we in the forestry community have been discussing the proposed state budget provision which eliminates the collection of the Forestry Mill Tax and instead will use General Purpose Revenue to fund the Forestry Fund for this budget cycle - the Governor and some legislators have been broadcasting their message of eliminating Wisconsin's Property Tax. However, they never tell you why we have a very small Wisconsin Property Tax or how these funds are used. Top 10 things you need to know about the Wisconsin Property Tax:
  1.  The Wisconsin Property Tax IS the Forestry Mill Tax.
  2.  It is assessed at 0.167 mills per $1,000 of property value.  An average $150,000 Wisconsin property pays $25.05/year or about the cost of a couple of Friday night fish fries without drinks.
  3.  The WI Property Tax was created by a Constitutional Amendment by citizens during the time when Wisconsin's forests were decimated at the turn of the 20th century.  It is because of this fund that Wisconsin has beautiful and productive forests.  Forests take decades to grow - by enacting the Forestry Mill Tax in 1930, citizens of long ago made an investment in the forests of today.  If this long-term source of revenue is eliminated, what are we giving to our next generation?
  4. The Forest Industry is the #2 largest contributor to the State's economy.  If this revenue is eliminated - will the domino effect occur?  Loss of forest industry, loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of family homes, declining property values, ...
  5. The WI Property Tax grows Wisconsin by aiding Wisconsin's most urban areas - 12% of the fund must be spent in SE Wisconsin for urban forestry efforts to keep city trees healthy, care for Wisconsin's southern State Forests, and tree planting.
  6. The WI Property Tax grows rural areas of the state by providing jobs through forest industry and tourism and by providing fire protection in rural and semi-rural areas.
  7. The Wisconsin Property Tax aids Wisconsin's counties through the County Forest program to provide foresters, loans to counties for land acquisition and capital development projects.
  8. The Wisconsin Property Tax assists Wisconsin's 350,000 private woodland owners with sustainable forestry management advice and cost sharing.
  9. The Wisconsin Property Tax provides forestry education for Wisconsin's school children.
  10. The Wisconsin Property Tax provides significant payments on Wisconsin's Stewardship Debt through the Knowles -Nelson Stewardship Program which provides lands for public recreation and conservation of natural resources.

Legislators surveys on Property Tax issue – Don’t throw it away!

Wisconsin citizens have been receiving surveys from their State Legislators on the Property Tax issue.  The ones we have seen make all kinds of claims such as - property taxes have gone sky high, hell is freezing over, elimination of the property tax will increase funds for schools, or it will help someone be able to afford a home. What they don't tell you - WISCONSIN'S PROPERTY TAX IS THE FORESTRY MILL TAX.  The owner of a $150,000 home pays $30/year  in forestry mill tax.  Take a look at your last property tax bill.  The amount listed on that bill as “State of Wisconsin” is your share of the forestry mill tax. If you have received one of these surveys and you support keeping the Forestry Mill Tax - NOW is the time to return your survey stating that you support keeping the forestry mill tax and that you would like to visit with your legislator about this issue. Please do not just throw your survey away - respond!  The fact that legislators are sending out surveys means that we are having an impact on this issue...but we need your continued input while the Joint Committee on Finance discusses this issue. If you haven't received a survey it is still important for you to weigh in with members of the Joint Committee on Finance.  WWOA's  letter to the Joint Committee on Finance members went out this week.

Governor’s Weekly Address on Forestry Mill Tax

The Governor's weekly radio address  discusses "lasting property tax relief" in the proposed budget.  Sounds good doesn't it?  Until you realize that he is talking about saving you an average of $26/year by defunding the Forestry Mill Tax. Talk about "lasting" - look at Wisconsin's beautiful and healthy forests!  They provide us with a uniquely Wisconsin quality of life, a life where we have clean air and water, picturesque landscapes, abounding forest recreational opportunities, and a diversity of forest industries to help keep our forests healthy and rural communities with jobs. WWOA encourages you to express your thoughts on the Forestry Mill Tax directly to members of the Joint Committee on Finance.  The proposed budget bill is in their hands and NOW is the time to contact them.  

Forestry Mill Tax Needs Your Help!

Mursau1Mursau2

CONTACT THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON FINANCE NOW!

Your Help is Needed TODAY - Contact the Joint Committee on Finance about the Forest Mill Tax

[Read more...]

Forestry Account Revenue & Expenditures FY 2016

Members have been asking, what does the Forestry Mill Tax pay for? Funds raised through the Forestry Mill Tax are deposited in the DNR Conservation Fund under the Forestry Account.  The DNR Forestry Account Revenue and Expenditures for fiscal year 2016 have been released.  The Forestry Account shows revenues of $118,289,789 with total state and federal expenditures of $113,628,313.  The Forestry Mill Tax provided a revenue of $83,306,027. Review the report to read details on revenue and expenditures. Read the additional posts below to learn more about the Forestry Mill Tax.

Joint Committee on Finance Announces Budget Bill Public Hearings

The Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) will hold public hearings on the Governor's 2017-19 Biennial Budget - Assembly Bill 64/Senate Bill 30 - which contain the provisions to remove the Forestry Mill Tax.  WWOA and other conservation organizations strongly oppose the removal of the Forestry Mill Tax funding in the state budget because it places Wisconsin’s nationally recognized forests and their resulting benefits at great risk.  We also know this will be a tight budgeting year.  If the legislature approves the Forestry Mill Tax provisions as written in the budget, the forestry account will be added to General Purpose Revenue (GPR) expenditures at a cost of $181 million. Public Hearing Dates and Locations Monday, April 3  10 am - 5 pm  UW - Platteville, Ullsvick Hall, 30 South Hickory St, Platteville Wednesday, April 5  10 am - 5 pm  State Fair Pk - Exposition Ctr, 8200 W Greenfield Ave, West Allis Friday, April 7  10 am - 5 pm  Berlin HS Auditorium, 222 Memorial Dr, Berlin Tuesday, April 18  10 am - 6 pm  Spooner HS Auditorium, 801 Co Hwy A, Spooner Wednesday, April 19  10 am - 5 pm  Ellsworth HS Gymnasium, 323 W Hillcrest St, Ellsworth Friday, April 21  10 am - 5 pm  Marinette HS Auditorium, 2135 Pierce Ave, Marinette [Read more...]

Wisconsin Forests at Risk without Forestry Mill Tax

The Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association authored the following coalition letter to share information about the Forestry Mill Tax's 2017-19 budget provisions with Wisconsin's citizens and legislators. An Open Letter to Wisconsin citizens and legislators, Wisconsin forests are at risk in the 2017-19 state budget proposal, which removes the designated stable funding of the Forestry Mill Tax.  We strongly oppose the removal of this funding, which supports Wisconsin’s conservation traditions and the state’s second most important economic sector. [Read more...]

Forestry Mill Tax vs GPR

To Members of the Wisconsin Forestry Community, No doubt you’re aware of the Governor’s proposal to replace the funding that has been generated through our Forestry Mill Tax since 1930 with what is proposed to be an equal amount of General Purpose Revenue (GPR).  In any of the discussions I’ve had with forestry stakeholders about this I’ve heard strong concerns and a variety of opinions, but I’ve never heard anyone suggest we’d be better off if funding for forestry was significantly reduced.  If significant reductions in forestry revenue and all the programs that revenue supports are desirable, than eliminating the Mill Tax and replacing it with General Purpose Revenue makes perfect sense.  Anyone who believes it’s important to maintain stable funding for forestry should recognize the elimination of the Mill Tax as the biggest threat to Wisconsin’s forestry success story in a generation. [Read more...]

More information on the Forestry Account in the State Budget

The Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau publishes  informational papers  on various aspects of the state budget. The Conservation Fund  paper is a 96 page document detailing revenue and expenditures related to natural resources.  Information on the Forestry Account starts on page 26 of this larger document or the select Forestry Account  to learn  more about this aspect of the state budget.  Data provided in this document is based on fiscal year 2014-15 revenue and expenditures along with estimates for fiscal year 2015-16. 
Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.