July 12, 2020 – Washington Co., WI – On Friday, July 10 a story posted on WashingtonCountyInsider.com about how the “Wisconsin Department of Revenue overpaid the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District $4.3 million. The district executive director asked to return the money and the Department of Revenue told him not to.
Today, Sunday, July 12, 2020 the Executive Director of the Miller Park District, Mike Duckett, sent an email saying the situation has been resolved and money will be returned to the Department of Revenue and hopefully to taxpayers.
Mike Duckett <[email protected]>
Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2020 6:45 PM
To: Judy Steffes <[email protected]>
Subject: Miller Park District
I noticed your recent article in the Washington County Insider regarding the Miller Park District and the “over payment” of $4.3 million to the District from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
I received a telephone call from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue yesterday (Friday, July 9, 2020). The Department has indicated that they “will be sending the District a letter asking that the District return the $4.3 million to the Department.”
The District will be pleased to comply with this request. It sounds like the funds will subsequently be distributed to the five counties, as originally hoped and intended.
Michael R. Duckett, P.E.
Miller Park District
One Brewers Way
On Monday, July 13, 2020 we will check with the Department of Revenue and inquire about the surplus timeline and how it plans to distribute the money to the five counties, including Washington County, in the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District.
Calls have also been place to officials in Washington County as they were the ones who initially pushed to have the money returned.
See story below from July 10, 2020.
It was 1996 when taxpayers in Washington County joined Milwaukee County, Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Racine counties in paying 0.1% sales tax to the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District.
The sales tax would help pay for the construction of Miller Park. That five-county sales tax was promised to end in 2019 or 2020.
The Associated Press reported:
“After 23 years, the five-county sales tax that paid for construction of Miller Park in Milwaukee will end March 31, 2020. Members of the board that oversees the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District decided unanimously Tuesday to end the tax. Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill last November to end the tax by Aug. 31. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the tax has collected about $605 million.”
One note however, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the “Wisconsin Department of Revenue overpaid the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District $4.3 million. The district executive director asked to return the money and the Department of Revenue told him not to.
Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann issued the following statement:
Last fall, the legislature finally ensured the baseball district would end this tax in 2020. Act 28 was intended to ensure the Department of Revenue could properly sunset the tax.
Washington County taxpayers have waited too long for this tax to sunset and now Madison bureaucrats cannot figure out how to end the tax. Mike Duckett and the Park District Board are trying to do the right thing by returning the money to the taxpayers.
If the Department of Revenue cannot figure out how to properly return the money, first thing next session, legislators should introduce a bill which would require the overpayment returned to the taxpayers of the five counties in the most efficient way possible.
In 2017 the Miller Park District put out a question-and-answer statement:
How much sales tax is collected each year? In 2016, the District received $30 million in sales tax revenues.
What does the Miller Park sales tax cost each resident of the five-county District each year? In 2016, it is estimated that each resident of the five counties, on average, contributed approximately $11.
Click HERE to read the entire statement by the Miller Park District.
Miller Park cover photo courtesy Miller Park District.