More than three-fifths of Wisconsinites, 61 percent, oppose Scott Walker’s proposal to increase taxes and fees on Wisconsin drivers by $750 million.
That’s according to the latest Wisconsin Economic Scorecard, a quarterly survey of Wisconsin voters conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The same survey also found that Wisconsinites have a net negative view of the state economy as a whole, with 63 percent of respondents rating Wisconsin’s overall economic performance as “poor” or “fair.”
Walker’s tax hike plan comes as the state is facing a staggering $2.2 billion budget deficit and as the transportation fund faces a nearly $700 million shortfall. The proposal includes a gas tax increase that will average about $27 per year, per driver, a new vehicle fee increase of about $800 for the average new car, imposes higher fees for electric and hybrid cars, and a higher tax on diesel fuel. In late November, a coalition of 10 Wisconsin business groups, to include Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, released a statement in opposition to Walker’s $750 million tax hike.
But while business groups are opposed to Walker’s tax hike, some local government groups are calling for the legislature to pass the Walker tax increase – and then some. In a report released Wednesday by the Local Government Institute, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance suggests that not only should the Walker tax hike go into effect but local governments should have more authority to increase revenues. Under Walker, local governments have been impacted by levy limits on property taxes and an $800 million cut to shared revenue.
According to Wispolitics.com, the report “does not offer specific recommendations, but does list several options for local revenue increases, including implementing wheel taxes, moving vehicles onto the property tax, allowing local gasoline taxes or sales taxes on fuel, or authorizing regional cooperation on transportation issues.”
“Not only is Scott Walker trying to pass one of the biggest tax increases — $750 million — in Wisconsin history, he wants to pile on by allowing local governments to raise taxes and fees on the very same services,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Friday. “More than 61 percent of Wisconsinites oppose this tax hike that puts the burden of fixing Scott Walker’s budget mess on middle-class families, and my guess is that number only continues to grow. Because it looks like there’s no end in sight for Walker’s tax-and-spend spree.”