Brown County does not “have to” spend $147 million in additional projects over the next 6 years, so Brown County would not “have to” raise property taxes to pay for them. County Executive Streckenbach this morning stated that the Brown County taxpayer will have to pay $24M more in property taxes if the BCTA prevails in this litigation. How do you reconcile that against the approximate $130M in additional taxes - a sales tax in this case - that it will cost that same taxpayer over the next six years? They could have used additional property taxes to “pay as you go” rather than borrowing, so it’s not even true that paying for it in other ways would have created higher interest payments. If the County really thought the community supported the sales tax, they could have sought an advisory referendum on it. A referendum, for example, was held for the Lambeau Field stadium tax.
If Brown County felt it needed to spend all this money, it had a lawful way of doing so: cutting spending elsewhere or going to the taxpayers and asking for permission to raise the levy in referendum.
Many of the members, if not most, of the Brown County Taxpayers Association agree with the merits of these various projects. In the end, this suit isn’t about whether the spending is a good idea or not. It’s about an illegal tax on Brown County residents and non-residents alike. State law says a sales tax can only be used to reduce the property tax levy.