Raise Local Sales Tax To Help Pay For Roads?

MacIver News Service | May 18, 2015

[Madison, Wisc…] Transportation Funding (and spending) is emerging as one of the more controversial issues of the current legislative session in Wisconsin.

Many were surprised back in November when Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb back submitted to Governor Walker a transportation budget proposal that increased taxes and fees by $750 million dollars and increased overall transportation spending by 22% or $1.36 billion dollars.

Governor Walker quickly rejected Sect. Gottlieb’s proposal but legislators have been flummoxed ever since on what to do with the transportation budget. Some Republican leaders have suggested raising the gas tax or the auto registration fee to satisfy the government’s need to build more roads but no consensus has emerged yet.

Another proposal being debated is Assembly Bill 211, a bill that would allow counties and municipalities to raise their local sales tax by a half of a percent to help pay for road and highway maintenance if approved by voters in a referendum.

To some in the Capitol, the proposal sounds like opening the door to 72 new regional transportation authorities – after the state just dissolved the RTAs four years ago.