A required “super-majority” to raise state taxes would become part of the Constitution under a proposed amendment by two Republicans who say this measure would “protect taxpayers.”
Hudson Representative Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) is co-sponsor of the proposal. “Sales tax rates have tended to be on a one way upward ratcheting effect. They tend to go up and never come down. We’ve yet to lower them in Wisconsin, but certainly there’ve been plenty of proposals to increase the sales tax.”
The Republican majority had already passed a state law (AB-5) requiring two-thirds majorities in both the Assembly and the Senate before sales, income, or franchise taxes could be raised. Now, Knudson and Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) want to add the requirement to the state Constitution, where it would be harder to change in the future.
“It’s one way to address the tendency for a majority to raise taxes as a simple way to balance the budget,” Knudson says, “rather than address the much tougher problem of controlling spending.”
Amendments require passage by both houses in two consecutive legislative sessions, and voter approval in a statewide referendum.
The proposal does not address user fees, which have become more common at both the state and local government levels in recent years amid political pressure against raising more general taxes.