Thursday, June 18, 2020

Half-percent Racine County sales tax being considered

From The Journal

EACINE COUNTY — Discussions are brewing that Racine County might become the 69th county in Wisconsin to institute a half-percent sales tax.
Sixty-eight out of Wisconsin’s 72 counties already have the tax; only Racine, Manitowoc, Waukesha and Winnebago don’t have one. Some municipal leaders here don’t want to miss out on that revenue stream, but others aren’t so enthusiastic about imposing another tax even if it could add millions to some public coffers.
Early estimates show that the tax would cost the average Racine County resident around $91.69 per year. It could generate a total of $18,024,787 in tax revenue.
Thomas J. Christensen
“That’s a lot of money,” Caledonia Village Administrator Tom Christensen said when presenting the idea to the Caledonia Village Board Monday.
Having a new sales tax could also lead to continuously increasing revenue year over year. Even though property tax hikes are controlled in Wisconsin, due to state-imposed levy limits, inflation continues to affect retail. As such, as prices increase so will sales tax revenue, even if the percentage of the tax remains unchanged.
Jon Delagrave
However, County Executive Jonathan Delagrave has not shown enthusiasm for the idea of a new sales tax. Mark Schaaf, communications manager for Racine County, said in an email Tuesday, “The county executive is mindful of the recent economic downturn and financial hardships that many residents are facing and has no plans to propose a county sales tax. Rather, we are primarily focused on helping rebuild our local economy and creating a favorable climate for growing and attracting businesses.”

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