Recent tax protests (and/or tea parties) took place mainly in response to the federal “stimulus” package passed earlier this year. However, recent proposals and events right here in Wisconsin illustrate that, like President Obama at the federal level, state politicians are going to ignore the public’s calls for fiscal responsibility and continue on a tax and spend spree that is completely inappropriate for the current economic climate.
Governor Doyle announced a proposed state tax increase in his budget back in February, which came as no surprise to many. However, three more tax increase proposals have come in during the last two weeks.
1. Increase Milwaukee County property taxes for Milwaukee Public Schools. Despite declining enrollment in the school system, officials warned recently that a large tax increase, potentially in the double digits for property taxes, is likely for Milwaukee. Personally, I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I just bought property here and will be using more of my income to support what few will deny is a failing school system.
2. Sales tax increase for Milwaukee County to 6.6%. While stating that this sales tax increase would decrease cut property taxes, the funds from the increased sales tax are to be used for transit, parks, and emergency medical services, not the public school system, so state law makers may well put both tax increases into effect.
3. Proposed increase in the state beer tax in Wisconsin. This proposal is remarkable not for the amount of the tax increase, but for the fact that Governor Doyle has actually said he would veto such a tax. Apparently, Wisconsin’s social engineering will be limited only to large-scale increases in the cigarette tax at this time.
Wisconsin is already in the top 10 nationally for highest tax burden. This is not a category for which Wisconsin should not be vying with California and New York for top honors.