By Sen. Brad Pfaff
Oct 3, 2021
Main Street businesses are the fabric of our communities, weaving in charm, friendly service, and economic impact. From diners to barbershops, florists, and antique stores, these businesses all play an essential role in creating jobs, attracting new visitors, and providing a sense of local pride.
But what most people don’t realize is that these business owners have to pay a personal property tax on the chairs you sit in, the table you eat at, the counter that rings you up, and the glass display case that holds the jewelry. Repealing the personal property tax has been a bipartisan goal for years, and that’s why I recently introduced a bill to eliminate it once and for all.
Over the past few months, I’ve worked hard with Governor Evers, my colleagues in the State Legislature, and the Department of Revenue to develop a comprehensive bill that rids Wisconsin businesses of this burdensome tax and protects our local units of government.
Administering the personal property tax is complicated and costs businesses and local governments valuable time and money. Our Main Street shops should have more incentive to grow their business by hiring more employees or expanding their inventory without increasing the tax bill. Small businesses shouldn’t be hamstrung by a 170-year old tax with more carve-outs than a Thanksgiving turkey. I’ve always believed that tax breaks should go to the middle class, not the corporate giants. That’s why I’m championing this bill and voted earlier this year to cut income taxes for Wisconsin families by $2.7 billion.
This bill also alleviates the concern that municipal governments will lose revenue from repealing the tax. Thanks to money the Governor preserved in our state budget, we can now compensate local governments for any losses after eliminating the tax. As a result, cities and towns won’t sacrifice their public safety budget, essential maintenance projects, and economic development initiatives. These are the decisions that impact our day-to-day lives, and nobody is better equipped to respond to the community’s needs than the people on Main Street and in the town hall.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our local businesses. Unfortunately, too many storefronts have had to close their doors or scale back due to economic hardships. It’s time to eliminate the personal property tax because communities succeed when homegrown businesses can thrive, and working families have more money to invest in their futures.