The report from the conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute doesn't dispute the revenue the big oil tax would generate. It just doesn't think it's possible to make it a crime to pass the tax on to consumers.
George Lightbourn, who co-authored the report, says New York State had a law very similar to the Wisconsin proposal that included a no pass-through provision and it was overturned by a court as un constitutional.
Even if the pass-through provision holds up, Lightbourn says free market principles will take affect. Faced with increase costs, oil companies would just cut back on the supply of gas sold in Wisconsin and that in itself would raise prices at the pump.
Lightbourn, a member of Governor Tommy Thompson's administration, says the public was skeptical of this from the beginning and they were right. One way or another, motorists will pay more at the pump if a big oil tax is imposed.
The big oil tax is part of the governor's budget proposal now being scrutinized by the legislature.