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2011-12 property taxes on median home were $3,294

Property taxes on a median value home in Wisconsin were $3,294 in 2011-12, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. Using recently released municipal tax information, WISTAX reviews the impact of home values and rates on local property taxes in its latest report, "A Recap of 2011-12 Property Taxes." WISTAX is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to public policy research and citizen education.

Property taxes on the median-value home were less than $2,000 in 10 counties, all in the northern half of the state. Taxes were highest in Dane ($4,811), Waukesha ($4,307), Milwaukee ($4,187), Ozaukee ($4,169) and Pierce ($4,128) counties.

In St. Croix County the median home was valued at $225,700, with an estimated 2011-12 property tax of $3,931. This is a 10.1 percent change in the past 10 years.

Property tax amounts differed across the state due to varying home values and tax rates. Median home values ranged from $92,600 in Menominee County to $262,200 in Waukesha County. Average tax rates ranged from $9.32 per $1,000 of equalized (or fair market) property value in Vilas County to $25.27 in Milwaukee County.

Over the past 10 years, statewide net property tax levies rose 44.3 percent, while property taxes on the median value home rose 23.5 percent. The difference is partly due to new construction absorbing some of the levy increase. New homes resulted in more households over which to spread the total levy. New construction accounted for about half of the statewide increase in equalized values. Tax shifting from one kind of property to another also caused residential property taxes to grow less. While the value of the median home grew 33 percent, the value of commercial property rose more than 60 percent, shifting the property tax burden to commercial property.

Ten year tax increases on the median-value home were under 12 percent in Brown, Marinette, Ozaukee, Richland and St. Croix counties. They were over 34 percent in Adams, Columbia, Menominee, Sauk and Walworth counties. Dane County was the only large county where taxes rose more than 30 percent.

A free copy of The Wisconsin Taxpayer, "A Recap of 2011-12 Property Taxes and the Effects of More Restrictive Tax Limits," is available by visiting; emailing; calling (608) 241-9789; or writing WISTAX at 401 North Lawn Ave., Madison, WI 53704-5033.