Governor Evers Vetoes Personal Property Tax Repeal

Last week, Governor Evers vetoed AB 191, legislation repealing the personal property tax on businesses. In his veto message the Governor said he was concerned that the bill created potential unintended consequences for railroad and utility taxes paid to the state as well as the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit. The governor also expressed concerns about the unusual arrangement the Legislature created between the compensating aid payments to local governments and the exemption of personal property, which was designed to avoid the Governor's line item veto authority.

However, the Governor left the funding the Republican led Legislature included in the state budget to hold communities harmless from the repeal in 2023. The Governor called on the Legislature to pass a new version of the repeal bill for his consideration. He said he welcomed additional legislative action to meaningfully address his technical concerns about the bill.

Read the Governor's veto message here.

The League has consistently taken the position that as long as the Legislature provides for a reimbursement program that is adequately funded, we would not oppose repealing the personal property tax.

Governor Evers Vetoes Local Redistricting Bill

On Friday, the Governor vetoed AB 369, a bill the League supported that adjusts the statutory deadlines by which counties and municipalities must accomplish various steps in the local redistricting process following the 2020 federal decennial census. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Census Bureau is months behind in releasing the 2020 census data to states. The data is expected to be released sometime in August, but may not arrive until late September.

The League joined with the Wisconsin Counties Association in developing this legislation to provide local governments with certainty as to when the local redistricting process must be finalized given the uncertainty as to when the state will receive the 2020 census data from the US Census Bureau.

Read the Governor's veto message here.

As a result of this veto, municipalities and counties will be forced to rush through each step of the local redistricting process in a highly compressed timeframe in order to have the new county supervisory district and aldermanic district maps completed and adopted by the end of November, 2021. League staff is working with the Wisconsin Counties Association on drafting a recommended timeline for completing each step of the local redistricting process by the end of November. We will share the recommended timeline with communities as soon as our two associations finalize the document within the next couple of weeks. Please stay tuned for more information.

Governor Evers Signs State Budget after making 50 Vetoes

Last week, Governor Evers signed into law the 2021-2023 state budget as Wisconsin Act 58. The Governor issued 50 vetoes regarding individual provisions in the bipartisan plan passed by the Legislature last week.

None of the Governor's vetoes directly impact municipalities. For a summary of items in the State Budget affecting municipalities see the July 7th Legislative Bulletin.

League Files Amicus Briefs in two Property Tax Cases

In recent weeks, the League filed amicus briefs in the following two cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court:

  1. State of Wisconsin ex rel. City of Waukesha v. Salem United Methodist Church. The issue at stake in this case is whether a municipality may appeal a decision of the Board of Review after it reduces a property's assessed valuation. The Court of Appeals concluded that a municipality may not appeal a board of review decision. We argue in our amicus brief that Wis. Stat. sec. 70.47(13) allows municipalities to seek certiorari review of board of review determinations.
  2. State of Wisconsin ex rel. Nudo Holdings, LLC v. Board of Review for the City of Kenosha. This case examines the definition of agricultural land and specifically looks at whether the existence of walnut trees and pine trees on a vacant and unimproved parcel of land in the City of Kenosha, which the owner intends to develop into single family housing lots qualifies as agricultural use for assessment purposes. The board of review concluded the land should be classified as residential, not agricultural. The circuit court and court of appeals agreed. We argue in our amicus brief that because the property was not "devoted primarily to agricultural use," as required by Wis. State sec. 70.32(2)(c)1g., the property was appropriately classed as residential for assessment purposes.