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Property Tax Limits and Fiscal Burdens: The Role Of Organizational Structure

Author: CRAIG S. MAHER, STEVEN DELLER and LINDSAY AMIEL
Published in PAQ, Vol. 35 No. 2

The effects of tax and expenditure limitations (TELs) have been studied from a number of perspectives ranging from fiscal policy responses to government performance to economic performance. To a large extent the response of local governments to the imposition of a TEL is determined by local policy makers. Surprisingly, the role of organizational structure of local governments on how policy makers respond to TELs has not been widely examined. This study works toward filling that gap by examining the effect of county government structure on property tax burdens before and after the imposition of a property tax levy limit, a specific form of TEL in Wisconsin. The results demonstrate that government structure has a more profound effect on property tax burdens following the TEL. Specifically, counties with elected executives had lower tax burdens, particularly following the TEL, whereas counties with a hired administrator had higher tax burdens following the TEL.

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