Manitowoc County Exec Fights Sales Tax Proposal

MacIver News Service | November 19, 2013

[Manitowoc, Wisc…] Manitowoc County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer says if the county board passes a budget Tuesday night that includes a $4 million sales tax, he will veto it.

“Even if it’s unanimous, I’m going to veto it,” he told the MacIver News Service.

Ziegelbauer said his budget proposal includes no property tax increase and no sales tax. In exchange, it would require public employees pay $12 to $126 in monthly health insurance premiums, when they currently pay nothing.

He said Manitowoc County employees are not required to pay the 12.6 percent of their premiums required under Act 10 because that only applies to those on the state’s plan. Manitowoc County is self-insured, and under Ziegelbauer’s plan the most a county employee would pay towards their premiums is 7 percent.

Still, the finance committee was not interested and voted 5-0 to create a half percent county sales tax.

“They’re saying its time for a county sales tax and then we won’t have to make any tough decisions,” Zeigelbauer said.

The total budget for the county is $60 million, which includes a $29 million property tax levy.

The county board includes 25 supervisors. Those who support the sales tax cite the need for infrastructure improvement. Zeigelbauer says the county does not need a sales tax to maintain and improve its infrastructure. He does not believe there are enough county supervisors who support the sales tax to override a veto.

“It’s still a pretty new proposal, but one I want to extinguish as soon as possible,” he said.

There is no hard deadline for the county budget, but the goal is to get it done by December 1st. The board is scheduled to meet Tuesday, November 19 at 7 pm.