Saturday, August 24th, 2019

Hitching a ride to higher taxes


The state Assembly is considering a bill this week to allow counties to raise the sales tax to pay for road improvements. Over at the MacIver Institute, I explain why this is a really bad idea. It blows past the wrong way sign on the road to higher taxes.

In theory, the money would have to be spent on road projects. However, the bill requires municipalities, “must expend for the purposes of maintaining, repairing, and constructing roads, streets, and highways no less than an amount equal to the average of the amount it spent for such purposes in the previous five years from revenue other than the new tax, plus the average of the amount of tax revenue received under the bill.”

The obvious problem is that this bill moves Wisconsin taxes in the wrong direction. The governor and the legislature have been correct in touting the progress the state has made in reducing taxes. However, we still have not completely rolled back the Doyle-era tax increases and Wisconsin’s property taxes are still among the highest in the country. Raising the sales tax on top of that, even to the benefit of a politically connected special interest like the road builders, is ignoring the wrong way signs on taxes.

I go beyond the obvious to explain how this will actually increase wasteful spending and does nothing to solve the long-term transportation spending issue.

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