2020 Referendum Climate: Madison Tax Base Edition

Dean Mosiman:

More than 70% of the city’s General Fund revenues come from the property tax, and nearly two-third of property taxes have already been paid for 2020, which brings some stability, Schmiedicke said. The city already imposed a $40 wheel tax for the current budget. But preliminary projections show an overall drop of 4%, or about $13 million, in general fund revenues that wipes out forecast growth from 2019 to 2020, he said. 

The city expects hotel room taxes to fall 30%, or about, $6 million, and anticipates general state aid cuts of 5%, or $1.6 million, due to state revenue shortfalls, Schmiedicke said. City investment earnings could fall 40%, or $1.5 million, he said.

Meanwhile, fines and forfeitures from moving and parking violations are expected to fall 25%, or 1.6 million, and licenses and permits may be down 15%, or 1.5 million, this year, Schmiedicke said. Many other revenues are expected to fall, including Metro Transit fares, street use vending; and Monona Terrace events. 

Other impacts include rising pension costs due to reduced earnings in the Wisconsin Retirement System portfolio, and reduced liability insurance dividends, he said.

Notes, links and some data on Madison’s planned 2020 referendum.

“Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a recent 2020 referendum presentation.