An increase in Wisconsin's alcohol tax could help boost sagging pay in District Attorney's offices.
Wisconsin District Attorneys Association President Ralph Uttke says the lack of a pay progression system in the state is forcing many young prosecutors to give up and move on. Prosecutors typically have a starting salary of about $47,000 a year, but Uttke says the current system only allows for basic cost of living increases to their pay. As a result, he says many of them move on to other areas where they can make more money.
The group wants an increase in the state's alcohol tax, which Uttke says could be used to help implement pay progression and to allow more prosecutors to be hired. Uttke estimates such a tax would need to bring in as much as $15 million annually to make that happen.
Uttke says an alcohol tax is a good source to pay for the plan, because prosecutors spend a lot of their time dealing with its effects. He says they want to tax a product that reflects much of what they do.
Previous efforts to raise state alcohol taxes have failed to gain any strong support in the Legislature. Officials with the Wisconsin Tavern League oppose the proposal from the WDDA.