A $60 Wheel Tax is NOT the Answer
Supervisor Alexander asks that the County Board and County Executive work together to find another way through the 2017 budget.
(MILWAUKEE, WI) – Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander is taking a stand against the $60 per car vehicle registration fee proposed as part of the County Executive’s 2017 County Budget.
“We must be fiscally responsible, and we’ve seen no demonstration yet of any serious joint efforts by the County Board and the County Executive to work together to prevent raising taxes. There is no way I can support this,” said Alexander.
“In fact, it was the deliberate actions of elected officials supporting the GO Pass – which we knew was unsustainable from the start – that has put the good people of Milwaukee in this mess,” she said.
However, Alexander sees the disconnect: “The people demanding free bus rides are generally not the people who would pay the new tax, so we can’t connect the two and pretend that because someone benefited from another free government handout, their approval of a tax they won’t pay somehow holds water.”
Critics of the vehicle registration fee recognize that it will disproportionally harm low-income residents and in Milwaukee particularly, people of color. Even though the new tax would finance services that low-income families may use, the $60 annual bill would directly impact those same low-income families’ ability to own a car, be independent, and prosper.
Although the County Executive’s press statement indicated a plan to convert the wheel tax to a value-based assessment system, Supervisor Alexander sees little upcoming relief. “Once people get comfortable paying $60 per year in extra taxes, do they think the bill is ever going to go down? Most certainly not! If anything, the tax for those with nicer or newer vehicles will be multiplied under the intention of fairness,” she said.
“This is unlike dedicated sales tax funding, which I would be willing to explore if the State of Wisconsin would grant Milwaukee County the option to consider. Unlike this wheel tax, at least dedicated sales tax funding would share the cost of maintaining parks, museums, and transit services with the visitors to Milwaukee who help create demand for those amenities,” said Alexander.
Supervisor Alexander asks that the County Board and County Executive work together to find another way through the 2017 budget. “Do not impose this new burden on the good people of Milwaukee County. Let’s truly find ways to be more efficient with what we have. Milwaukee County has experienced growth and has a larger tax base this year – we should work within that levy allotment. It’s not as if we’re winning awards for being a county government leading across the nation for efficiency.”
Alexander is hopeful that the County Executive’s full 2017 budget will focus on other long-term sustainable measures, like paying down debt, decreasing the County’s unused stock of land and buildings, and pushing for removal of the Estabrook Dam, and that ultimately, the notion of a $60 wheel tax will be abandoned.
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