Introduced by Representative Pat Snyder (Schofield), Assembly Bill 242 would create a one-time summer sales tax holiday from June 1st to August 31st.
The “holiday” would be limited to taverns, restaurants, brewpubs, amusement parks, arcades, movie theaters, distilleries, craft breweries, and wineries.
Businesses not specifically covered by the bill could apply to the Department of Revenue to be classified as one of the listed establishments and be allowed to offer the exemption.
Opponents were critical of the legislation because it did not include any funding to backfill the loss of revenue for local governments.
“While a tax holiday sounds like a fantastic idea for consumers, at the same time, this is going to be a significant loss of revenue, $13 million, for our local units of government,” said Representative Beth Meyers (Bayfield).
According to the Department of Revenue, the legislation will reduce sales tax collections by $159 million and county sales tax revenue by $13.3 million.
Supporters of the bill say it will help businesses hard hit by the COVID pandemic by encouraging more spending by their customers.
Representative Pat Snyder (Schofield), the lead author of Assembly Bill 242, said “We’re trying to put a little bit of juice in an industry that we hurt. That’s what this bill does – drives up volume and let’s the people of Wisconsin know that we in the Assembly are thinking about them.”
Assembly Bill 242 passed the Assembly 62-32 with bipartisan support, and is now being reviewed by the Senate.