May 20, 2020 For immediate release
Information: Rich Heidel (920) 655-3107
Brown County Taxpayers Association to appeal sales tax ruling by County Circuit Court
The Brown County Taxpayers Association (BCTA) today announced that it is appealing a recent ruling by Circuit Court Judge John Zakowski. BCTA contends Brown County’s action to impose a half-percent sales tax is not legal. Zakowski ruled in favor of the County.
The matter involves explicit language in a Wisconsin statute that specifies a county sales tax may be enacted “only for the purpose of directly reducing the property tax levy.” BCTA contends that the County violated the statute when it imposed the tax to fund an array of new projects.
BCTA President Rich Heidel explained the reason for the appeal: “To support his ruling, the judge relied considerably on a 1998 opinion by then Attorney General Jim Doyle. Even though the judge refers to the AG’s opinion as “presumptively correct”, it does not have the force of law and we believe the opinion is flawed. We need to have an appellate court take up this question.”
Heidel continued: “More than once we urged the County to take the question of a sales tax to a referendum. After all, this is a new tax of well over one hundred million dollars! But they declined to do so, a move which should deeply concern all Brown County residents.”