Oppose tax increase on Wisconsin families

TO: Wisconsin Legislators

FROM: Americans For Prosperity-Wisconsin, Badger Institute, and Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty

DATE: November 5, 2021

SUBJECT: Oppose tax increase on Wisconsin families

We strongly oppose legislation that is currently circulating for cosponsors, LRBs 4990/5140, that would allow the Wisconsin Propane Education and Research Council to levy a new tax on propane distributors in Wisconsin.

Inflation is already driving up the price of everyday goods and bills for Wisconsinites, and now we are approaching winter where home heating costs are projected to see massive increases from last year. The United States Energy Information Administration forecasts that the cost of propane heat for the coming winter could increase over 50% from last winter, and if the winter is 10% colder than current estimates, propane costs will increase 94% for families. This bill allows for a levy to be assessed on distributors, which could only further increase the cost of propane for families across the state, and especially in rural areas, at a time when making ends meet is already becoming more difficult.

Additionally, taxation authority should be limited to duly elected units of government. Further expanding the ability to levy a new tax to another trade association should raise serious concerns for taxpayers. Worse, the bill only includes a few limitations on how these tax dollars could be spent. While increasing safety related to propane is a worthy cause, delegating taxing authority to a dues-collecting organization, with no accountability to the public, is not the responsible way to ensure a safe propane delivery system.

The Legislature must limit taxing authority to the hands of officials who are ultimately accountable to Wisconsin voters and reject LRBs 4490/5140. This coming winter will already be challenging for thousands of our fellow citizens as the costs of propane, natural gas, groceries and other goods continue to rise. The legislature should not pass legislation that would allow an unaccountable-to-voters association levy a new tax, and especially not in these tough economic times.