Outagamie County considers county-wide sales tax

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Outagamie County is looking to join 66 Wisconsin counties that have implemented a county-wide sales tax, but not everyone is on board with the suggested increase.

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Outagamie County is just the latest in the state to consider implementing a county sales tax, something paid for by both in and out-of-county residents. Brown and Calumet counties implemented that tax last year.

"We do it when we go to Brown County, when we go to Calumet County, when we go to Milwaukee or Dane county or any of the other 66 counties that have a sales tax in the State of Wisconsin," says Outagamie County Board Chair Jeff Nooyen.

Early estimates indicate the half percent increase would generate about $20 million -- funds that would impact different aspects of the county's finances.

According to Nooyen, "Out of the $20 million a substantial amount will go for net levy reduction, a substantial amount will go for debt reduction, five million will go for capital improvement projects, and then three million dollars will be allocated towards assisting municipalities."

The proposal also claims it will result in a net reduction for county taxpayers, but County Executive Tom Nelson says there are no data to back that up, and he will do all he can to make sure this proposal doesn't become a reality.

Nelson says, "I'm a little disappointed. I think it's a mistake. I think in addition to the fact that we don't need this, we have a declining tax rate already, we have a AAA credit rating, we only bond for what we absolutely must. We're one of the best run counties in the state, and that's a big reason why we don't have a county sales tax."

The proposal will go to the full county board next Tuesday night. If approved, the increase in the tax would be implemented on January 1, 2020.



 
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