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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Interesting Shifts: Milwaukee’s new sales and use tax and its ripple effect on shoppers

Photo by Christopher D’Allen

Have you noticed prices rising recently when purchasing from local retailers? While inflation is definitely playing a role, there are also two new taxes for people who purchase items in the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County. 

The city of Milwaukee implemented a 2% sales and use tax that went into effect on January 1, 2024. At the same time, Milwaukee County’s sales tax increased from 0.5% to 0.9%. This means that the total sales tax paid for purchasing items in the city of Milwaukee is 7.9%, while the total sales tax paid in Milwaukee County is 5.9%. The additional 5% sales tax is for the state of Wisconsin, and it’s something people across the entire state pay when purchasing taxable items.

Business owner and MATC Accounting Instructor Talaya Scott has a deep grasp of the necessities and importance of both taxes and tax laws. “People need to pay attention to where they shop, it’s important to know if you can get a better deal…. For example, if you have a job outside of Milwaukee, in Milwaukee County, you may get better deals closer to where you work.” Scott said. 

If you purchase a $100 taxable item in the city of Milwaukee, you will pay $7.90 in tax for a total of $107.90. If you purchase the same $100 taxable item in another municipality in Milwaukee County (Franklin, West Allis, West Milwaukee, etc.), you will pay $5.90 in taxes on the item for a total of $105.90. That $2.00 difference might not seem like a big deal, but if you’re trying to watch your spending, it can be. 

I spoke to some MATC Downtown Campus staff and student workers to see if they’ve noticed the change. Some have and others have not.

Jenny Lessard at Student Accomodations:

“I stopped shopping in Milwaukee to save money.” She also provided me with a quick and very important reminder: Wholesale food products that are not pre-made are not taxable!

Jimmy Saenphonphakdee at the Multicultural Center:

“When I go to the grocery store, I notice that prices have risen for sure.”

Salvador Barba and Norma Flores at the Office of Bilingual Education:

“We haven’t noticed price changes too much recently. However, we can see how detrimental that could be especially to families who are financially struggling.”

Tequila Lewis at the Cafeteria:

“I have definitely noticed prices getting higher.”

Cloud Vue at the District Wide Advising Office:

“I agree that sales taxes are bad right now, definitely boosting prices. However, I also understand why they are rising, and we can’t truly blame the government. There are many factors that play into higher taxation rates. As a fashion designer, I experience higher prices when buying materials all the time.”

Tyvis Johnson states:

“I have noticed things slowly going up in price. I notice companies use fake sales (for example saying 30% off when in reality the product is still the original price) to hide growing prices.”

Regardless of what you have or haven’t noticed, it is true that prices in and around Milwaukee have risen. Even though we all have to continue on with life, buying things to thrive and survive, it is always nice being up to date on important financial information. Remember, even if you don’t mind the changes, or haven’t noticed, it is worth researching as it may be affecting you more than you realize!

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About the Contributor
Christopher D’Allen, Editor-in-Chief
My name is Christopher D'Allen and I am the Editor-in-Chief for the MATC Times, a student run paper dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in scholastic journalism. The MATC Times stands as the voice of our students and a bastion of free speech for the communiy we represent. I joined the staff in my first semester at MATC and obtained my current position at the start of Summer '23. Here I am a photography student and hold a BA in Political Science and Spanish & Latin American Studies with a minor in Democracy and Justice Studies. I have worked an Administrative Assistant, World Language Instructor, a Head Lifeguard and Resident Assistant, but have found that my passion lies in the arts. As a photographer, I challenge myself daily to find a new perspective, capture a fleeting scene and turn moments into memories. As we work to relaunch the MATC Times website and grow our staff, I want to make joining our team as positive a learning experience and beneficial a work experience as possible. I strongly believe in the power of collaboration and inclusivity. As an Editor, I actively encourage diverse perspectives. Each student's unique viewpoint enriches our storytelling and fosters a sense of unity within our community. I aim to bridge the gap between words and images, revealing the untold stories that shape our community.