Panel Approves Removal of Forestry Tax

MADISON, WI (AP)–A legislative panel has approved language in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget eliminating the state property tax. The Joint Finance Committee voted 12-4 Thursday to end the forestry mill tax. All the committee’s Republicans voted to eliminate the tax; all the panel’s Democrats voted against it. Revenue from the forestry tax goes toward acquiring, preserving and developing forests. The tax is the only property tax the state levies, although a number of local government entities levy their own property taxes. The move would save the owner of a median-valued home about $50 over the next two years. The state would lose about $181.5 million in revenue meant for forests. Walker’s proposal calls for filling that gap with money from the state’s general fund. Committee Democrats warned that general fund dollars could dry up in future budgets and lawmakers could find better uses for the money.

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