Pennies from taxpayers
There’s an idea floating around that all we need to do to help property tax payers and fund education at the same time is to increase the sales tax. Everybody wants to increase the sales tax for their pet causes, but Tom Beebe and the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) want to increase the sales tax a full percentage point (a penny on every dollar). This would result in a $850 million tax increase. But as I point out over at the MacIver Institute, don’t expect any property tax relief from that sales tax increase.
The idea is presented as a way to help property taxpayers. However, this has nothing to do with property tax relief. The WAES is committed to the “Wisconsin Adequacy Plan.” According to the WAES, “adequacy” would be determined by looking at what they would define as needed for education, and then trying to figure out how to pay for it.
So what would “adequacy” cost the taxpayers? “Adequacy,” according to the WAES, would require a 32 percent increase in the total state tax burden. That’s not just pennies, and does not leave any room for reducing local property taxes.