NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 15, 2007

Buying a gun, getting a shirt cleaned, downloading a song off the Internet, driving a car and smoking a cigarette would all cost more under Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's budget.  So would getting a license to hunt elk, obtaining a copy of your birth, marriage or divorce certificate, applying to the University of Wisconsin, smoking a cigar or chewing dip, and selling a home.

And then there are two tax increases that Doyle argues won't get passed on to consumers but critics say might -- taxes on hospitals and oil companies.

So what's the bottom line?

  • A smoker with a pack a day habit would pay $456 more a year.
  • Someone who owns a $166,000 home, the median value in Wisconsin, would pay $75 more in property taxes.
  • Selling that same house would cost $332 more in a higher real estate fee.
  • Registering a car and getting a new driver's license, combined would be $30 more.
  • Downloading $20 worth of songs off the Internet would cost $1 extra.

The taxes and fees literally would apply to people from birth to death, said Todd Berry, president of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

"If you pick a lot of these very targeted fees and taxes and you say they're just on some small group, but they end up being so broad and everyone's affected, it becomes a general tax increase," Berry said.

Republicans put the price of Doyle's proposed tax increases at $1.8 billion, a price that Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch said taxpayers can't afford.

"This plan will cost every man woman and child in the state an extra $310," Huebsch said Tuesday. "A family of four just doesn't have an extra $1,200 laying around to pay for the Democrats' spending spree."

Source: Associated Press, "Tax increases under Doyle's budget hit many people," Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, February 15, 2007; and Associated Press, "Republicans assail tax increases in Doyle's budget," Winona Daily News, February 14, 2007.

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