Ruling on tribal taxes becomes a financial burden to Northern Wisconsin counties. | News

A court ruling took tribal land off of Wisconsin tax rolls. It was seen as a victory for tribes, but it has left a hole in local government budgets.

A federal appeals court ruled last summer that Wisconsin can’t force tribal landowners to pay property taxes on reservation lands. This means fewer residents are paying property taxes in those communities. And for some towns, taxes have skyrocketed for nontribal residents.

Residents of Sanborn, which is entirely inside the Bad River reservation in Ashland County, have seen their property taxes double.

Leaders in Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, Sawyer and Vilas counties estimate they’ll collect around $1.8 million less over the next two years.

Local governments are seeking state aid in hopes of making up the lost revenue.

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