Brown Co. shoppers now paying more in sales tax

Patrons at Kavarna coffee shop in downtown Green Bay are like others in Brown County now paying an extra half percent sales tax on qualifying purchases. (David Duchan/WULK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A half of one percent sales tax imposed by Brown County went into effect with the start of the new year. In May the Brown County board approved the tax for a 72-month period beginning Jan. 1, 2018. The added half percent brings the total sales tax in Brown County up to 5.5%.

The added tax is estimated to collect $147 million over six years, with the money earmarked to support various community expenses including road/infrastructure improvements, the jail, a new expo center, the museum, libraries and county parks.

Breakdown of how the half percent county tax collection is to be allocated for county projects

  • $60 Million Roads/Infrastructure
  • $20 Million Jail/Mental Health Facilities
  • $20 Million Libraries
  • $15 Million Expo Hall Renovation
  • $10 Million Public Safety/Morgue
  • $10 Million Resch Center Maintenance Fund
  • $6 Million Parks/Fairgrounds
  • $5 Million STEM Innovation Center
  • $1 Million Neville Public Museum

"I guess it's good for infrastructure because we definitly need some of the potholes filled in Green Bay," said Cory Nicklaus of Green Bay. "So if it goes toward that I guess I don't mind paying the extra half percent."

Nicklaus doesn't think the added tax will prevent people from heading out to the stores and restaurants.

All but seven counties in the state now have the added half percent sales tax--five of those counties are in Northeast Wisconsin. Calumet County though is set to add the tax in April.

Business owners say collecting the added tax is made simple with more sophisticated technology used to operate cash registers. In many cases a computer program only requires a couple key strokes to add the tax.

"I'm not sure anyone will even notice," said Steve Liebert, owner of Bosse's newsstand in downtown Green Bay.

Ringing in the new year with an added tax though didn't sit well with everyone. Lisa Bishop of Green Bay told FOX 11 even though the amount is small it's still another tax taking money out of her pocket.

"It's unfortunate to hear we have to pay a little extra every day," said Bishop.

Brown County shoppers are familiar with an added half percent sales tax. From 2000 to 2015 an added half percent sales tax was imposed to pay for Lambeau Field renovations done in 2003. That tax paid for $300 million in renovations.

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