Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tech College Taxes

The point has been made--extremely well--by Jess McBride that Wisconsin's technical schools are spending money like there's no tomorrow, on facilities and salaries/bennies for their teachers and administrators.

What's most interesting about the tech-college system is that its Boards are appointed--not elected--and have the ability to levy taxes. It's another taxation without representation issue which the Legislature will take up in January.

But one line from the story caught my eye for other reasons:

"It's hard for legislators to justify giving them more state assistance when the property values have been exploding." said Rep. Rob Kreibich (R-Eau Claire).

For the moment, forget the other very important issues raised by McBride's story. Focus again on "property values...exploding."

Then think about what happens when and if property values implode. Look at it this way: it is VERY rare that local tax levies (county, city, school district, tech-college) go down. So if you're paying $5,000./year for your $350K property, you'll be paying $5,000./year on a $315K property (if values take a 10% dive.) But that means that the tax RATE will go up, from 0.14% of value to 0.16%, a 14% rise.

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