Robin J. Vos
State Representative • 63rd Assembly District • Racine County

CONTACT: State Representative Robin Vos


(RACINE) A new countywide sales tax proposal by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is a lump of coal in Racine County taxpayers’ holiday stockings according to State Representative Robin Vos (R-Caledonia). In addition to the 5.1% sales tax Racine County residents already pay for the state sales tax and for the Brewer’s Stadium, an additional .0375% sales tax would be added to fund a new commuter rail system in Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee Counties.

“Increasing taxes to fund mass transit is just not an option,” said Vos. “Racine County is already taxed to death and citizens shouldn’t have to dip in their wallets again.”

The idea of expanding commuter rail to southeastern Wisconsin is not new. Its feasibility became dim when the Chicago commuter rail system decided it did not want to connect with one in Wisconsin. However, Wisconsin moved forward and money was set aside via a car rental tax to fund a study of a commuter rail system that would extend from Kenosha through Racine to Milwaukee. The study is now completed and it proposes to build train stations in Caledonia, Racine and other places along the route paid for by sales tax money generated in all three counties.

“I am not opposed to commuter rail service, but I think people who never ride the system shouldn’t be forced to pay for it,” said Vos.

The study shows ticket fares would only cover 26% of the cost of operations with state and federal subsidies covering an additional 66%. Local taxpayers would be forced to make up the difference through the additional sales tax.

Vos noted that 78% of the respondents to his 2005 fall legislative questionnaire said they did not support a tax increase to fund a commuter rail system. “Clearly my constituents have shown through these results and the last election that they don’t want new taxes,” said Vos. “While going door to door during the campaign people consistently said they did not want their taxes increased – period. I can’t imagine they would support an increase for commuter rail.” Vos is concerned that once the new sales tax is put in place it will be impossible to get rid of it. He compared it to the Brewer’s Stadium sales tax which is supposed to end in 2014, but only if all the debt is retired. Costs of the stadium have been three to four times greater than expectations so there is no guarantee it will end in the next seven years.

“I’ve been working the last two years to end the Brewer’s Stadium tax in 2014 debt free or not,” said Vos. “It’s easy for government to start a new tax, but not end it. The taxpayers of Racine County have been deceived once with a short-term tax that sunsets; I won’t let them be deceived again.”

The RTA proposal will now have to gain state approval through the legislative Joint Finance Committee of which Vos is a member.

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THANK YOU REPRESENTATIVE VOS and Merry Christmas to you!!!

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