In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Wisconsin collected $27.3 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Wisconsin taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in Chart 1, Wisconsin’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the twelfth highest in the nation for FY 2013 at 11.1 percent—this is 8.percent above the national average of 10.3 percent. As shown in Chart 2, Wisconsin’s tax burden has grown over time by 41 percent to 11.1 percent in FY 2011 from 7.9 percent in FY 1950.
Wisconsin’s high tax burden is driven by a high property tax burden (4.2 percent, 10th highest), individual income tax burden (2.5 percent, 22nd highest), and a high corporate income tax burden (0.4 percent, 16th highest). A lower than average sales tax burden is the only bright spot (1.9 percent, 34th highest).
Of course, the tax burdens for local government can vary just as much as they do among the 50 states. As such, we have also calculated the local government tax burden for every county in Wisconsin—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.
The Wisconsin counties with the highest local government tax burden include: Oneida County, WI (7.6 percent), Washburn County, WI (7.3 percent), and Douglas County, WI (7.1 percent). The Wisconsin counties with the lowest local government tax burden include: Calumet County, WI (2.1 percent), Richland County, WI (2.9 percent), and Dodge County, WI (3.1 percent).
Scott has nearly 20 years of experience as a public policy economist. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 180 studies and books. His professional experience also includes positions at the American Conservative Union Foundation, Granite Institute, Federalism In Action, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tax Foundation, and Heritage Foundation.