Capitol Update

by Senator Howard Marklein

September 29, 2023

Why Does This Matter To Me?


In rural Wisconsin, we often look around the state at tourist attractions, major sporting events, big conventions, major concerts and other happenings and decide that they have absolutely nothing to do with us. We see these things as happening somewhere else. We don’t think that they apply to us. We wonder why they should even matter to us.
It is easy for us, in our quiet communities, to believe ourselves separate from the big stuff happening somewhere else. We’re lucky that we don’t have to deal with the traffic, the noise or sometimes the crime that accompanies it.
But due to some changes in Wisconsin’s new shared revenue plan, we should be celebrating anything and everything that brings new money and sales tax collections into our state.  Earlier this year, the legislature and Governor adopted a new framework for funding shared revenue, which helps support our local counties, cities, villages and towns. The future funding for shared revenue will be a dedicated 1¢ of the 5¢ sales tax collected by the state. So, for example, 1¢ of the state sales tax collected in Green Bay goes into the shared revenue fund that is then redistributed statewide. As statewide sales tax collections increase, so will shared revenue. This is a big deal.
This is also why it should matter to you. Every time Wisconsin is selected for a major event, it matters to every community in Wisconsin.  Every time a tourist visits our state, no matter where they go, it matters to every community in Wisconsin.  Every time we consider whether state investment should be made to generate more economic development, it matters to every community in Wisconsin.
We should be celebrating whenever we recruit a major event!  For example, the 2025 National Football League (NFL) Draft is going to be held in Green Bay in April 2025. This is the absolute biggest off season event for football in the country. Discover Green Bay and the Packers estimate that Green Bay will welcome 250,000 attendees, which will have a $94 million impact on the state of Wisconsin.  A portion of the sales tax collected during this event will be shared with every community in Wisconsin through shared revenue. Does this matter to you? You bet it does.
Wisconsin has hosted tremendous golf events, huge concerts and massive conventions in the past that have had significant local economic impacts. However, this is the first time, the economic impact of the sales tax collected will be felt all over the state regardless of where the event actually takes place.
Just imagine, in 2021, the tiny burg of Haven, Wisconsin hosted the 43rd Ryder Cup on the Kohler Co.’s Whistling Straits golf course. This event had 40,000 fans visiting the course every day of the tournament and $135 million in economic activity. The fans filled 30,000 hotel rooms all over Wisconsin.  Now, just imagine that our communities, could benefit from the sales tax generated by an event of this magnitude.
When hotels are full in Sheboygan, Milwaukee and Green Bay, our communities will get a piece of the sales tax generated by these sales.  When the waterparks in Wisconsin Dells are providing winter break fun, it matters well beyond the borders of Lake Delton. When a fan buys a hat, a jersey or even a magazine for the flight home, we all benefit.
Just think, an event that is occurring at the other side of our state will generate sales tax revenues that will be redistributed to our communities. This is great news. These funds will be available to our local governments for road maintenance and repair, law enforcement, public works and more!  When Wisconsin wins an event like this, we all win. This is why it matters to me – and it matters to you too.
As always, please do not hesitate to connect with me to provide input, ideas or to seek assistance.  Send an email to sen.marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov or call 608-266-0703. I want to hear from you.