Property taxes are the largest revenue-raising tool for public schools districts and local governments. This year, rising property values in Southeast Wisconsin are producing the highest tax growth rate since 2007, according to a new report from the Public Policy Forum.
"Southeast Wisconsin appears to have returned to a state of 'normalcy' with regard to property values and property tax collections, marked by modest increases in both," explained Rob Henken, president of the Public Policy Forum.
Commercial property values continue to drive the region's overall growth, increasing by 4.7%. This outpaces the 3.8% growth in commercial value for the state as a whole. The region's total commercial property value now exceeds its pre-recession value.
Every county had an increase in values in 2016. Kenosha County reports commercial values grew a whopping 10.8%. This reflects new development that benefits from Kenosha's close proximity to both Metro Milwaukee and Metro Chicago.
Manufacturing property values account for a total of $4.8 billion of real estate in Southeast Wisconsin. Values grew for the fourth consecutive year in 2016. However, this year's 2.6% growth rate is lower than the 3.8% experienced in 2015.
The state as a whole experienced its fifth consecutive year of manufacturing property value growth at 2.7%, which was also a slower rate of growth than the previous year.
Public Policy anticipates continued growth in property values for the near future.
"The overall message to taxpayers by our analysis of property values and taxes in Southeast Wisconsin is positive. Not only was the regional tax rate down slightly for 2016, but 2016 property values showed an even bigger increase than the year before, signaling the potential for another rate reduction in 2017," the report states.