Gateway property taxes cut in half

State to pick up bigger share as local taxpayers will see their bills go down
2014-04-18T06:19:00Z 2014-04-21T06:51:14Z Gateway property taxes cut in halfSTEPHANIE JONES Journal Times

BURLINGTON — The property taxes local residents will pay for Gateway Technical College next year are to be cut in half thanks to an act of the Legislature passed this year, according to officials and Gateway’s proposed 2014-15 budget presented Thursday. 

The total amount taxpayers are budgeted to pay next year for Gateway is $28.98 million, down from $60 million this year.

“Homeowners will see a reduction in their local property taxes which gives them the relief they are looking for and Gateway has been able to demonstrate good performance, so we’ll see an increase in the revenue streams to support ongoing training,” Gateway President Bryan Albrecht said following a budget presentation Thursday at the Gateway Technical College District Board meeting in the HERO Center, 380 McCanna Parkway, in Burlington.

Under Act 145, the property tax relief act passed this year, the state will pick up a large portion of what local property taxpayers usually pay for technical colleges throughout the state, explained Conor Smyth, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Technical College System. It doesn’t mean a new pool of money for technical colleges, he said. It means local taxpayers will pay less, while statewide taxpayer dollars, now part of the state surplus, will be more heavily relied upon.

The surplus is the result of holding down spending, Act 10 savings, and the growing economy, according to state Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester.

Change in state funding

Statewide, local property taxpayers used to pay 68 percent of the cost of technical colleges. That is now reduced to 33 percent, and the amount the state pays is going from 9 percent to 44 percent, Smyth said.

For Gateway, approximately $32 million is being moved from local property taxes to the state. That means about $83 in property tax relief for someone with a $100,000 home.

Vos, the Assembly speaker, said the biggest complaint he hears from constituents is about taxes and this provides relief, but state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, said instead of simply swapping out property taxes more money should have gone to technical colleges for worker training, and he had proposed a bill that would have done that.

Mason said he voted against Act 145 not because he thinks the property tax cut is bad, but because technical college funding needs to be restored to prior levels.

“All the money they put into the technical college went to property tax relief, nothing from that bill went for job training or getting people back to work ... If jobs really is the No. 1 issue, we should be investing in things that get people back to work.”

Albrecht said the college is getting additional state funding through a new performance-based calculation that rewards the school for doing well. The college has also applied for an additional $2.7 million through what is being called the Blue Print for Prosperity, according to Albrecht. That includes money for more boot camps, among other things.

Additional budget items

Overall, Gateway’s proposed total budget is down from $161.62 million to $156.76 million. Albrecht attributed that in part to Act 10, which essentially eliminated collective bargaining for public employees. It allowed Gateway to make changes to benefits such as retirement and health insurance, he said. Also he said over the last three years there were approximately 85 retirements, which contributed to the college’s savings because employees who had been with Gateway used to receive longevity pay based on the number of years they were with the college. Now he said instead of budgeting for longevity pay, they have funds budgeted for merit-based pay increases.

“We certainly want to be an employer of choice and recognize employees for the great work they are doing,” Albrecht said.


Total budget levy, the amount local property taxpayers pay

Current ’13-’14 budget: $60.04 million 

Proposed ’14–’15 budget: $28.98 million

Tax rate, the amount local property taxpayers pay per $100,000 in property 

Current rate ’13-’14: $163.47

Proposed ’14-’15 rate: $80.51*

Gateway’s total budget

Current ’13-’14 budget: $161.62 million 

Proposed ’14-‘15: $156.76 million 

Capital improvements budgeted for Racine’s campus

$1.95 million budgeted for a new roof, HVAC system and repairs

$250,000 for restroom remodeling in the Lake Building 

Timeline for the proposed budget 

Public hearing: May 5 at 7 p.m. at the Center for Bioscience and Information Technology, 3520 30th Ave., Room 120, Kenosha. 

Scheduled date for budget approval: May 15 at 8 a.m. at the SC Johnson iMET Center, 2320 Renaissance Boulevard, Sturtevant. 

*The proposed ’14-’15 tax rates is based on a projected 2 percent decline in equalized property values and reduced greatly due to recent tax relief legislation. The final tax rate is not set until the fall.

Copyright 2014 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. Joe Taxpayer
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    Joe Taxpayer - April 18, 2014 12:54 pm
    Thank you Scott Walker and Robin Vos! Real results here, not just smoke and mirrors.
  2. UTP
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    UTP - April 18, 2014 12:46 pm
    I don't know why but this frightens me. I guess I don't believe money grows on trees.
  3. bitter clinger
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    bitter clinger - April 18, 2014 10:54 am
    Incentive based funding. More schools should be funded this way - you produce a good product and you are rewarded. Nice to see that Gateway is offering merit based increases as opposed to just pay by tenure. A real scam would be taking money from the transportation fund or patient compensation fund to cover costs and pretend you are being fiscally responsible. But who would ever do a thing like that? Oh yeah, Doyle.
  4. LoveRacine
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    LoveRacine - April 18, 2014 10:43 am
    Creative bookkeeping--taking from Peter to pay Paul. Insulted that they think we do not know what they are doing.
  5. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - April 18, 2014 8:52 am
    Yet another desperate ploy from the Unqualified Presidential Candidate Hopeful and his sidekick - Vos.

    Tax- Shifting. Yep - that's all this little trick is. Ok Scotty - how ya' gonna pay for this? Watch the Walker Administration emulate the Dickert Administration and borrow, thanks to the power of The State, Hundreds of Millions, while increasing government spending then declaring taxes will decrease.

    All that these LOSERS are doing is shifting the burden to the future, which leads to economic collapse. Kinda like The Former Soviet Union.

    Walker and his Republithugs have been a disaster! Nothing but tax-shifting, borrowing and accounting tricks while Businesses continue to flee the State.

    Of course, now Gateway will ask for more! The unelected Board can borrow tens of millions more while claiming that it's ONLY a few more $ onto your bill. I expect Bryan Albrecht to go wild with the borrowing potential. Do these people hate their children that much?

    What happens when the music stops? When all this debt + interest comes due? It's approaching GAME OVER. Then what?
  6. oldguy
    Report Abuse
    oldguy - April 18, 2014 8:26 am
    Maybe now Gateway can lower their rates per credit ?
  7. americanwarrior
    Report Abuse
    americanwarrior - April 18, 2014 8:17 am
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