Evers sits on, refuses to send Miller Park tax surplus back to taxpayers



When it comes to taxes the conventional wisdom is that when a new tax is created it rarely goes away. It’s here to stay.

During the debate about construction of a new stadium for the Milwaukee Brewers I wore a few different hats while working at WTMJ.

Straight news reporter. I also wrote and voiced radio editorials. Filled in as an opinionated radio talk show host. And I was a panelist on Charlie Sykes’ Sunday INSIGHT TV program.

Despite my consistent aversion to tax increases I emphatically supported the one-tenth sales tax in five SE WI counties to support the new stadium because of the tremendous  benefit.

Many years ago the WI Legislature had an opportunity to make the tax go away, but failed to take action.

Finally earlier this year, the five-county sales tax used to back construction bonds for Miller Park officially came to a sunset on March 31, signaling the end of the 0.1 percent sales tax that went into effect in 1996, covering the counties of Milwaukee, Ouzaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha. The tax–which backed $290 million in construction bonds, plus interest–has proven controversial at times, as at various points receipts were below projected levels. However, favorable economic conditions helped the numbers trend upward in recent years, helping to bring the tax closer to retirement.

The state Department of Revenue told retailers that the tax was no longer to be collected after March 31.

“The fact of the matter is when a tax like this is implemented, no one ever thinks it’s going to stop,” said Don Smiley, chairman of the stadium district board. “It stopped here today. It’s an example of promise made, promise kept. We ended up with a great ballpark and a great facility.”

End of story, right?

Wrong. Very wrong.

You can’t make this junk up.

After the tax went away the Miller Park district received two payments for $4.3 million from the state Department of Revenue, which collected funds generated by the sales tax,  and overpaid the district by $4.3 million.

The Miller Park district was taken off guard. They had no idea the extra money was coming.

“The district doesn’t want the money,” said Mike Duckett, executive director of the Miller Park district.

Where’s the money now? As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it’s sitting in a contingency fund until the state instructs Duckett what to do with it.

Shouldn’t the answer about what to do with the surplus be obvious? Not according to the empty suit who now runs our state.

Duckett asked to return the money and the WI Department of Revenue, part of Tony Evers’ administration,  told him not to.

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann exhibited major common sense when he  issued the following statement:

Last fall, the legislature finally ensured the baseball district would end this tax in 2020. Act 28 was intended to ensure the Department of Revenue could properly sunset the tax. Washington County taxpayers have waited too long for this tax to sunset and now Madison bureaucrats cannot figure out how to end the tax. Mike Duckett and the park district board are trying to do the right thing by returning the money (to) the taxpayers. If the Department of Revenue cannot figure out how to properly return the money, first thing next session, legislators should introduce a bill which would require the overpayment returned to the taxpayers of the five counties in the most efficient way possible.


But Gov. Evers doesn’t care one iota about hard-working WI taxpayers.

3 thoughts on “Evers sits on, refuses to send Miller Park tax surplus back to taxpayers

  1. We can always expect this from Democrat tax-mongers like Evers.

    “You can’t be for big government, big taxes and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.” —Ronald Reagan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (07/20/20) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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