Franklin taxes went up again this year.

That’s not exactly a news bulletin. However there were some noteworthy developments regarding taxes in 2017 leaving beleaguered Franklin taxpayers angry and frustrated …again.

Normally the Franklin School Board members play the role of tax gougers when it’s budget time. Surprisingly the school property tax levy went up 1.1% and that’s because   this is the first year of repayment of debt on the new middle school project approved by voters in a referendum.

City of Franklin taxes went up 2.5%. Mayor Steve Olson had presented a budget to the Common Council calling for a 3% property tax levy increase.

Olson attempted to defend the tax increase pointing out city taxes had remained the same for the past five years. Thus this year’s proposed 3% increase, if applied to those past five years would amount to a measly .6% increase each year.

In other words, the lowly taxpayer should be appreciative, keep quiet, and sit back and take it (as Franklin taxpayers collectively and historically have done for years and years).

The mayor in his budget proposal claimed there was no fiscally prudent or viable way to freeze city taxes for a sixth year. Maybe so.

But here’s the real kicker that should not and probably won’t be forgotten by even the most apathetic of Franklin property taxpayers.

The mayor’s proposed budget increase comes on the heels of many, many taxpayers getting blasted with massive increases in their property reassessments who feel the increases were unjustified. They can’t be blamed if they sense they were set up.

I find it ironic that when Olson’s predecessor proposed property tax increases, then-Alderman Olson objected.

A 3% increase may not sound like much, but it’s way beyond the inflation rate that is almost zero.

Consider wages that remain stagnant and it becomes increasingly more difficult for taxpayers to pay, a concept that continues to be lost on the part of those with taxing power in Franklin.

The argument that city taxes haven’t gone up  for some time is little if any consolation, not to mention flawed logic. Even without a city increase for five years our city taxes were still frozen during that time frame at an ungodly amount. Would anyone ever consider a tax cut? That only happens under Donald Trump in DC, not in Tax Hell, WI.

About those reassessments. They came in July when the average taxpayer isn’t paying attention. From my blog:

Reassessments just came in the mail, and people are ticked.

Can’t blame them. They’re commenting on social media like crazy about having done zippo on their land and properties, only to see values skyrocket.

Problem: The good citizens will grumble on chat sites, and that will be the end of it. They won’t complain or seek action anywhere else.

Get ready for the bureacrat-ese and excuses.

My favorite of course: It’s the state’s fault.

A  small group of folks on one of the chat sites think these outrageous increases (one as high as $116,000) are hunky dory, that it’s only fair that values are back up to what they were before the housing crisis hit.

Sad to say but in Franklin there’s a a sizeable faction that sits back and takes it. Still others don’t even realize when they’re being screwed.

Again, there’s a feeling that assessments should go up if market values are increasing. That’s the way it should work, right?

Well here’s a lengthy but very interesting piece of investigative journalism demonstrating that despite the housing woes years ago, assessments went up in Wisconsin even though values went down.

You see, they will find a way to fleece you no matter what.

Of course you can always appeal. Yeh, right. And you’re going to win the next Powerball, too.

Incidentally, for the small group of property owners who have taken the Kool-Aid and believe the higher values will automatically result in similar prices if/when they decide to sell, guess again. It’s not guaranteed. Here’s a ReMax flyer we received in the mail today:

ReMax Flyer

Some got what they wanted, but not all.

Seller: Don’t pop the champagne corks based on your love note from Franklin City Hall.
This Just In…July 15, 2017

This is no reason to scalp or gouge people, but it’s happening nonetheless.

Your home value just went through the roof and you want to sell. Terrific, right? Guess again.

Maybe there’s some comfort in the fact we’re not Maryland. Are you ready for this? Paragraph 6 is eye-opening.


During the tax reform debate in November I blogged about this item that enables local and state officials to tax you crazy.

Following passage of tax reform this month there was confusion nationwide about the deduction for state and local taxes. Under the new tax law there’s a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes. However, the IRS announced this week that filers could only avoid the cap by paying property taxes that have been assessed in 2017. Many local governments, including Franklin, have not completed assessments for upcoming years.

It’s unfortunate that in this fiscally conservative he have people with taxing and spending authority that essentially are not at all fiscally conservative. They have blinders on, either in disbelief that our taxes are obscene, or, if they’re aware,  they simply don’t care.

The topper is Mayor Olson, admittedly of the school of thought that the tax levy is what counts, not the tax rate, but continuing to push a PR campaign emphasizing the tax rate, and misleading the citizenry in the process.

At this rate relief is nowhere in sight.


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4 thoughts on “THE TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2017: #3

  1. Pingback: THE TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2017: #2 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  2. Pingback: THE TOP TEN FRANKLIN STORIES OF 2017: #1 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  3. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (01/08/18) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  4. Pingback: Is another year of stunning reassessments coming to Franklin? | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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