State bill would override local wheel tax

Measure comes shortly after Dane County passed tax
State bill would override local wheel tax

A bill at the state Capitol could override Dane County’s new wheel tax – and similar measures used by municipalities across Wisconsin.

Senate Bill 625 would essentially require local governments to ask permission to implement a wheel tax from their residents in the form of a referendum. The requirement would also apply to counties and municipalities with a wheel tax already in place, including Dane County, whose members passed the measure last month.

“When other areas of government want to raise money, they have the option to go to a referendum, and this just equalizes that,” said Sen. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater) during the bill’s public hearing today. “If you want to take more money from the people, ask them whether they want to pay more or not.”

Dane County Board Supervisor Richard Kilmer said the county’s wheel tax was necessary because the state has tied their hands when it comes to raising revenue.

“We’re always looking for sources to raise revenue… and provide services, and this is one of the ways,” Kilmer said. “A lot of municipalities and counties have used this, especially for our roads, which are in such a sad state of repair.”

Dane County is one of at least 25 state municipalities that have a wheel tax in place, according to the Department of Transportation.

The bill will still need a committee vote before it heads to the full Senate.