GOP Leaders Reject Governor Evers’ Plan to Allow Local Sales Tax Increases

Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal to allow local governments to increase sales taxes with voter approval is “dead on arrival,” according to state GOP leaders.

Under the governor’s sales tax plan, which was included inhis 2021-23 state budget proposal, counties and municipalities with populations over 30,000 would be able to increase sales tax by 0.5 percent, as long as the increase was approved by voters through a ballot referendum.

“There is no chance this is going to happen,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester.  “I think the problem we are looking at, especially in Milwaukee, is systematic problems where they have made bad decisions over decades they now do not have the courage to solve. Now they want to go to taxpayers for an easy, quick fix. That is just not going to happen.”

The Wisconsin Counties Association supports the governor’s plan, saying it would provide much-needed help funding state-mandated local government programs. Other groups, including the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, have also come out in support of the proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, indicated Senate Republicans may be more open to the plan if the sales tax increases were directed toward property tax relief. But he said it’s “very doubtful” counties would choose to use the money that way.