Sup. Deanna Alexander
Press Release

Supervisor Alexander Proposes a Sunset Rule for the County’s Wheel Tax

"This policy holds us as elected officials accountable to the voters we represent..."

By - Sep 20th, 2017 08:31 am

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander is calling for a sunset provision on the County’s Vehicle Registration Fee, also known as the wheel tax, and will bring a resolution to the County Board this month detailing the plan.

“The voters of Milwaukee County sent us a message in April saying that 72% are opposed to more fees like the wheel tax. We should heed their warning and recognize that raising taxes instead of cutting waste and finding new efficiencies is the wrong way to get our fiscal house in order,” said Alexander.

“Taxpayers get the short end of the stick if we simply rely on a single vote from elected officials back in 2016 – prior to the knowledge we now have from the referendum – that would push this fee onto taxpayers year after year into the future. If Milwaukee County is going to have a wheel tax, we have a duty to genuinely consider each year if we must keep it going, and if a majority opposes it – sunset the tax,” she continued.

If adopted, Alexander’s proposal would require a majority of Supervisors to vote in favor of continuing the wheel tax prior to November 15 of each year, in order to authorize the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to collect the fees during the following calendar year. In any year where a majority of Supervisors vote against continuing the wheel tax, the fees would not be collected in the following year.

“This policy holds us as elected officials accountable to the voters we represent so that we are making reasoned decisions and never forgetting their interests.  Officials who truly believe their districts support the fee will be free to vote to reauthorize it, and officials who hear from their constituents that the fee needs to go, will be at liberty to oppose it,” said Alexander.

Alexander’s wheel tax reauthorization process would align with the county’s annual budgeting process. The budget is revised and adopted by the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors during October and November.

The proposal is listed as File #17-591 and is expected to be heard as agenda item #12 for the next meeting of the Finance & Audit Committee which will meet at 10:30am on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 in Room 203R of the Milwaukee County Courthouse.

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