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Levy Limits

Posted on: June 5, 2018

Levies, assessments and equalized value: Unraveling the property tax knot in Wisconsin

What is equalized value, and why does it matter?

In the confounding system of property taxes, lower tax rates don’t always translate to lower bills.

If we paid taxes only to our city or town government — or some unified body — things would be fairly simple. Lawmakers determine a levy. The assessor tallies up what all the property is worth. The levy is divided by that tax base and the resulting rate applied to each individual property.

But there’s county government, school districts, tech schools, the state — not to mention special sanitation or lake districts — each vying for a piece of the action. And those boundaries straddle multiple municipalities. 

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