Boots & Sabers

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0732, 09 Jun 22

Washington County Extends “Temporary” Sales Tax… Again

I know that I’ve been on this for 20 years, but this is the object lesson for never believing government when they sell a tax as a “temporary” measure for some “emergency.” Come to think of it, that lesson applies to any government program.

WEST BEND — The Washington County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved keeping the county’s 0.5% sales tax in place Wednesday night.

As a reminder, I wrote this is 2006:

In 1998, Washington County was in a bit of a pickle. Several large capital improvement projects, like an expansion of the University of Wisconsin Washington County, the courthouse addition, and new Highway Department facilities, were looming and there wasn’t going to be enough tax revenue to pay for them. In the face of a crisis, the County Board did what governments always do – they raised taxes.


In this case, the new tax came in the form of a half penny county sales tax. They also designated part of the sales tax to be used for debt service, but that didn’t kick in until three years ago. Since 1999, the sales tax has removed over $49,400,000 from the pockets of people who choose to spend money in Washington County. Since the new sales tax was primarily for one time expenses, the County Board put in a provision that says that the County Board can vote to stop collecting the tax in 2006 – this year. If no vote is taken to stop the tax, then the tax will continue indefinitely.


0732, 09 June 2022

1 Comment

  1. dad29

    See my Shocked Face? It’s there!!

    Given what you’ve had to say about County and (City) West Bend and (schools) West Bend, it appears that the electorate up there is hopeless.

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