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Tax Rate Confusion and Misinformation

We are one of the fastest growing communities in Wisconsin with one of the lowest total tax rates in the State - of 592 communities the Falls is 581 on the list meaning we have a very low total tax rate as compared to everyone else. But we have significant challenges - aging infrastructure needs to be addressed. Many of our neighborhoods require upgrades to roads, curb and gutter, and water/sewer. Our revenue is not keeping pace with inflation which is a huge problem and construction costs continue to rise so it is important that we develop budgets to cover these expenses without harming our tax rate.

People have been saying (incorrectly and inaccurately) that the Village board approved the largest tax hike in our history last year which couldn’t be further from the truth. The largest tax rate increase was 2007-2008 (5.09 – 5.18). The total tax rate is important to understand and you’ll see why in a minute: it consists of 5 separate taxes – state, county, village, WCTC, and school. In 2017, the Waukesha County, WCTC, and the Village tax rates increased. My opponent has been a Waukesha County Supervisor and approved the County levy increase and also previous County levy increases. Just stating the facts. There may have been a good reason for him to do that but that is a question for him to answer.

Our village tax levy was increased but I want to stress minimally, marginally and for very good reasons: We have held the tax rate low and flat for 12+ years while we have seen an explosion in growth. We now need to pay for the infrastructure improvements and additional police and fire personnel. For an average house in the Falls, the annual tax increased by a mere $12. But because the total tax rate decreased from 7.60 to 7.24 thanks to the elimination of the state tax and a decrease in the school tax, your taxes have actually gone down. My tax bill is $100 less than the year before! And compared to our village tax rate, Brookfield and New Berlin’s rates are .30 higher!

And for $12 annually we’re able to fund new police and fire personnel. When I say I stand behind our protective services folks, I do mean it and I would never compromise their ability to do their jobs without the right funding and the right resources.

So next time when someone tries to scare you into believing that a massive tax hike was pushed through last year and the sky is falling, counter the fear-mongering with the facts. We have one of the most successful communities in the state with one of the lowest total tax rates, and a first-class police and fire department that can meet the needs of one of the fastest growing areas in Wisconsin. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.


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