July 9, 2021

Contact: Sen. Cowles: (608) 266-0484 / Rep. Kerkman: (608) 266-2530

Bill to Promote Tax Transparency Signed into Law

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Representative Samantha Kerkman (R-Salem) released the following statements after a bill they authored, 2021 Senate Bill 70, was signed into law as 2021 Wisconsin Act 66: 

“Wisconsin has a strong tradition of accountability and transparency in state government, and recent changes have brought that into the modern era,” said Senator Cowles. “The Tax Accountability Dashboard is the next step in this ongoing effort. Act 66 is geared towards ensuring residents have a better chance to see and understand where their tax dollars are being spent by creating an accessible, clear, and upfront series of data and graphics. I look forward to seeing the Dashboard published prior to the next tax filing season.”

“This dashboard will be a great tool for Wisconsin taxpayers and anyone curious about general purpose revenue (GPR) collections and expenditures,” said Representative Kerkman. “DOR already publishes the GPR collections piece – primarily the income and sales taxes we all pay – and adding the ‘how-it-was-spent’ component will really help complete the picture and enhance taxpayer oversight. I appreciate Governor Evers signing our bill.”

2021 Wisconsin Act 66 creates a ‘Tax Accountability Dashboard’ on the Department of Revenue’s website. Similar to the Local Government Dashboard that was established by the 2017-19 State Budget, this legislation requires that charts and graphs showing the source of revenues and expenditures of general purpose revenue (GPR) is made publicly available online within about six months. While GPR includes a host of revenue sources, it’s primarily collected from individual income taxes, sales taxes, and corporate income and franchise taxes. Monies paid to the state government for specific purposes, such as a State Parks sticker, professional license, or vehicle registration, are generally kept in separate pots of money for their designated purpose.