Lehman Still Floating Sales Tax Increase to Fund RTA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     Contact:   Van Wanggaard January 16, 2010                                                                                            (262) 930-6503

Lehman Still Floating Sales Tax Increase to Fund RTA

 Wanggaard opposes another burdensome tax hike

RACINE - State Senate candidate Van Wanggaard raised concern with his opponent’s suggestion that a 0.5% sales tax increase could raise “more than enough” money to fund a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and commuter rail:

“My opponent John Lehman appeared solidly opposed to a sales tax increase during last year’s state budget negotiations, as evidenced by his crafting of a backroom, middle-of-the-night deal that produced a $16 car rental fee proposal.  Since that time, Senator Lehman has continually pointed out that Racinians are passing up an ‘opportunity’ to impose a half-percent sales tax on themselves to fund a RTA.

While I appreciate that every funding avenue should be analyzed and considered, it makes me uncomfortable that Senator Lehman keeps coming back to a sales tax increase as a viable alternative, and it makes me even more uncomfortable that he views a sales tax hike as an opportunity rather than a burden. 

While the prospect of having efficient, affordable mass transportation serving our community warrants thorough examination, Racine County residents have made it clear that they do not want another tax hike shoved down their throats.  If the RTA proposal is to move forward, Senator Lehman must work with local leadership to ensure that the funding source places no further hardship on Racine taxpayers. 

Racine County is currently witnessing nearly double-digit unemployment.  Our legislators in Madison should be focused on creating jobs and stimulating the state’s economy, instead of drumming up new tax proposals that will place further strain on family budgets.  My opponent needs to listen to his constituents and take the sales tax hike option off the table right now.”

The state legislature is expected to unveil a proposal outlining funding options for a RTA within the next few months.  The aforementioned sales tax increase would have to be adopted by referendum.