(Madison) A Beaver Dam politician and a state senator Monday introduced legislation that bars local governments from bypassing state law to increase taxes. The bill from Representative Mark Born and Senator Duey Stroebel would require any local government receiving revenue from a transportation utility to reduce its property tax levy by the same amount.
Local governments are subject to limits under state law on how much tax can be imposed on residents, however, certain municipalities have created a new “transportation utility fee” as a way to circumvent levy limits to impose new taxes on residents. The requirement under the proposed bill to reduce the levy by an amount equal to the transportation utility could be waived with the consent of voters through passage of a referendum. Existing transportation utilities would be subject to the requirements under the bill.
Born says local governments are using legal gymnastics to create new taxes on their residents. He says if these new tax schemes are allowed (quote) “what will they dream up next.”
The legislation comes at a time when state and federal funds for local road aids have increased substantially. Since 2017, municipal aid from the state has gone up by 24-percent and the Legislature provided $190-million in local road improvement grants over the past two budgets.