Pushing the Limits: Factors Contributing to Passage of Municipal Levy Referenda

Wisconsin municipalities rely heavily on the property tax to fund public services, such as street maintenance, police and fire protection, and parks and recreation. In 2005, the state enacted levy limits, or a restriction on the amount of additional revenue a municipality could raise through the property tax. Wisconsin municipalities can exceed their levy limit, but they must ask residents to increase their property taxes via a direct referendum. This report for The League of Wisconsin Municipalities examines the characteristics that contribute to successful levy-limit referenda.


  • Course: Spring 2020 Workshop in Public Affairs, PA 869, taught by J. Michael Collins
  • Authors: Mary Morris, Jackson Parr, Sally Rohrer, Sarah Souders Michael Zell
  • Client: The League of Wisconsin Municipalities

Download PDF