Supermajority Amendment is Unnecessary and Would Tie Lawmakers’ Hands During a Budget Crisis

January 22, 2014

A proposed amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution would hinder tax reform, and make it more difficult for the state to invest in its infrastructure. Under the amendment, a two-thirds majority of both houses of the Legislature would be required to pass an increase in the rate of the state individual income tax, corporate income tax, or sales tax. A supermajority vote would not be required to increase the gas tax or increase fees. 

A new analysis by the Wisconsin Budget Project explains why the amendment is both unnecessary and presents a threat to the state’s future economy and infrastructure. Supporters argue that supermajority requirements keep state taxes lower than they otherwise would be. However, history and geography show this not to be the case. Tax increases are extremely rare in Wisconsin; the sales tax and corporate income tax have not been raised in 32 years. The only increase in the individual income tax in the last 28 years, which took place in 2009, affected only about one out of every hundred tax filers.

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