12/18/17 – As state revenue limits restrict the ability of municipalities to invest in infrastructure, some communities are looking for new ways to bring in revenue from taxpayers. Beaver Dam is among the city’s that have looked to the wheel tax as a possible solution. More than two dozen municipalities have a wheel tax in place which charges a per-vehicle fee, usually around $20, with the funds being used to fix roads. There is a bill currently circulating in the legislature that would require local governments to ask permission from voters in the form of a referendum.
State Representative Mark Born says he is not opposed to local governments raising revenues for roads. During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment, the Beaver Dam Republican told us that it is important for voters to have a say. He says a wheel tax has been the go-to for many local governments to increase revenue but he prefers the decision be decided by voters through a referendum because of the effects it has on tax payers.
Born also supports legislation that would allow for a half-percent sales tax for local road funding if, like the wheel tax, it is approved by voters. The half-percent tax was part of the transportation plan during the most recent budget cycle but Born says it did not make the cut. He says it was unfortunate that it was not included because the need for transportation funding has been a prevalent topic of discussion.
The Beaver Dam Common Council will vote Monday night on a $20-dollar wheel tax. If approved, it would take three months for the state Department of Transportation to begin collecting the tax on vehicles weighing 8000-pounds or less. The wheel tax would expire in two years.