The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty is appealing a circuit court decision upholding Brown County’s sales tax.
The conservative law firm first challenged the county’s 0.5% sales tax in 2018, arguing state law allows counties to enact such taxes only if the money will be used to reduce property taxes. Brown County had planned to use the $147 million that would be raised for new capital projects, such as a teaching center, museum exhibits and library improvements.
Brown County Circuit Court Judge John Zakowski granted Brown County’s motion for summary judgment on March 24, upholding the tax.
“The statute simply cannot be read in a way such that a dollar-for-dollar offset is the only lawful operation,” the opinion said. “If that were the case, the Wisconsin Legislature would have spelled out that specific operation within section 77.70.”
WILL appealed the decision on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers Association and Brown County taxpayer Frank Bennett on Wednesday.
“State law is clear that county sales taxes are permitted for one purpose, and one purpose only: direct property tax reduction,” Anthony LoCoco, WILL Deputy Counsel, said in a statement. “We look forward to making this argument to the Court of Appeals.”