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Evers to propose local sales tax hikes to fund government

Katie Thoresen/WXPR

Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday that he will ask the Legislature to approve allowing counties and most large cities be able to ask voters to raise the sales tax to pay for local services, like police and fire protection and road repairs.

Evers also wants to divert 20% of the state sales tax to fund local governments, a proposal he first unveiled in his State of the State speech last month. He released more details on Tuesday, a week before he submits his two-year budget proposal to the Legislature.

His plan would allow for Milwaukee County to impose an additional 1% sales tax, with half of what is raised going to the city of Milwaukee, if approved by voters. All other counties could ask for a half-percent sales tax increase. Cities other than Milwaukee with at least 30,000 people could also ask voters for a half-percent sales tax increase.

The plan is similar to one that Republican legislative leaders have been discussing. There is a broad coalition of cities, counties, towns, villages and others in support of tapping state sales tax revenue to pay for local governments after years of stagnant funding.

The push also comes as Wisconsin is projected to have a budget surplus exceeding $7 billion.

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