Legislators Get Briefing on Technical Colleges from WISTAX President Todd Berry
The focus was property tax funding of technical colleges.
MADISON—The focus was property tax funding of technical colleges when Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, testified before a special Legislative Council committee at the state capitol today.
Berry told members that technical college funding should be considered in the larger context of state tax reform, suggesting that lawmakers identify what are the best and appropriate uses of the property tax and which ones are not. He also urged them to consider technical college funding in the larger context of maximizing state investment in economic growth and educational training. WISTAX is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization devoted to public policy research and citizen education since 1932.
In his testimony, Berry provided the Study Committee on Review of Wisconsin Technical College System Funding and Governance with an overview of Wisconsin’s property tax system and the place of technical colleges with that system. He noted that part of the reason technical college funding has become an issue of public concern is that, over the long haul, its annual levies have increased at higher percentages than other units of government.
The committee is directed by the legislature to review the current governance model of the state’s technical college system and examine the current funding model and its impact on property taxes. The committee is composed of legislators and citizens interested in or knowledgeable about the technical college system.
The committee invited Berry along with other experts to provide special testimony to inform their work. Berry has been the president of WISTAX since 1994 and was Wisconsin’s Assistant Secretary of Revenue in the early 1980s. He has a bachelor’s and doctoral degree from UW-Madison and master’s degrees from Harvard University and the University of Chicago. He is Wisconsin’s leading non-government expert on state and local finance issues.
The committee is expected to develop recommendations that will be offered to the legislature when it reconvenes in 2015.