If you live in the city of Madison and own a non-electric vehicle, you paid $85 to the state, $40 to the city, and $28 to Dane County in wheel taxes this year. That’s an annual total of $153. The similar story is increasingly true in many other Wisconsin communities. According to a new report, local governments across the state are increasingly turning to wheel taxes as a way to generate revenue — one of few options for municipalities and counties.
The report, titled “Locals Give the Wheel Taxes the Gas,” finds that wheel tax revenues tripled between 2017 and 2021. And it’s a recent phenomenon – a decade ago, the revenue generated by local governments by the flat tax was just $7.5 million. In 2021, municipalities and counties collected a combined $62.8 million.
For more on the wheel tax, what it funds, alternatives, and even a look ahead to road funding politics in the 2022 election, News Director Chali Pittman hopped on the line with Jason Stein, a researcher with the Wisconsin Policy Forum and author of the new brief.
Feature photo by Chali Pittman. Above image courtesy Wisconsin Policy Forum.