Madison Finance Committee approves program to offset cost of wheel tax for people on WIC

The Madison Finance Committee passed a budget amendment Monday night that members hope will offset the cost of the wheel tax for low income individuals.

The move pulls $100,000 from the transportation budget and reallocates it as $40 gift cards to people who are recipients of the federally-funded Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and pay the vehicle registration fee.

Alders said the $40 fee was necessary in order to avoid further cuts to the city budget and expected it to be approved at the committee meeting Monday.

“We all have seen what the budget looks like,” said Alder Shiva Bidar, the Madison Common Council president. “There is no way we can have the items that we have in the budget without the vehicle registration tax.”

The $40 fee would be the most expensive in the state. It awaits approval from the full council.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway wants the wheel tax take effect by February, but state law requires 90 days’ notice, meaning the full council needs to pass the new fee before November in order for that to happen.

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