When it comes to fixing our roads, one of the more popular avenues is a wheel tax.
It puts an additional charge on everyone’s vehicle registration, and that money ultimately makes your Sunday joyride a little more enjoyable.
But a new referendum would require everybody to pass the tax from scratch.
“It just seems inappropriate,” said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich. “And given the fact that there’s a good debate going on in Madison about how to raise revenue to invest in infrastructure, I think they should leave those types of decisions to locals.”
“Sounds pretty hypocritical because the joint finance committee at the state level just passed a a recommendation to raise the state registration fee by $10,” said Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna. “I didn’t hear any talk about a referendum to support that increase.”
After years of special assessment drama, Green Bay just passed its wheel tax.
Even cities that have had one for a while have no protection.
“In Appleton, we’ve had the local registration fee for five years,” said Hanna. “And now, we’ve got to go back and have a referendum? If it’s good for us, it should be good for the state.”
They feel it strips the municipalities of some power.
“It’s just ensuring that that power is as local as possible,” said Senator Andre Jacque, R-De Pere. “That that power goes to the people. They’re looking at it as potentially losing a revenue stream that they’ve come to depend on.”
If passed, the public would have to vote on keeping its area wheel tax within 18 months.
“It’s not doing away with the wheel tax. It’s simply saying that if you are generating a substantial chunk of change from a wheel tax–from taxing your own residents–that there should be a plan there essentially that has the public’s support.”
The next step for the wheel tax referendum bill is a committee vote, which could come as soon as the end of the month.