Deb, I am originally from Illinois myself and I know exactly what you are talking about. In Illinois the counties give exemptions off of your Real Estate taxes if you are living in your home and are 65 and older (it is called the Homestead Exemption). There is another one also in Illinois but I am not familiar.
So far this is what I see in Wisconsin, There are a variety of qualifications for a Wisconsin Homestead Credit. Those who qualify must be 18 years old as of December 31 of applicable year, lived in Wisconsin for the entire year (January 1 to December 31), claim independent on taxes and make under $24,500 (as of 2009).
So the difference is that if you live in Illinois, it goes by age, in Wisconsin for the most part it goes by income. I do also believe the state of WI allows for a credit no matter if you own or rent.
Read more: Wisconsin Homestead Act | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_6374137_wisconsin-homestead-act.html#ixzz1l6x9EEUK You can go to ehow and look up Illinois Homestead information also.