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Wisconsin's Sales Pitch

By Marcus Gilmer in Miscellaneous on Mar 28, 2008 4:36PM

Back in our New Orleans days, we used to see billboards that read "40K A State Away!", an attempt by the state of Texas to entice what few competent teachers southeast Louisiana had left. Our first reaction was annoyance. Who does Texas think they are, trying to pilfer our educators? Isn't everything already bigger and better there? Then, after a daiquiri from the drive-thru, we just shrugged. That's capitalism, baby.

2008_03_tax.jpgNow a coalition of 18 Wisconsin counties is hoping to similarly court you, the shoppers of the Chicago area, to Wisconsin, where the sales taxes are considerably lower. The coalition, known as The New North, hopes to take advantage of Chicago-area residents who vacation in southern Wisconsin when the Chicago's sales tax jumps to 10.25% on July 1, more than twice the sales tax rate in many of the coalition's counties.

The New North coalition envisions a campaign that will be timed for back-to-school shopping. The season will coincide with the tax rate increase in the Chicago area and with a time when many Illinois families are vacationing in Wisconsin.

"We do get shoppers from Illinois, especially in the summer as they travel to Door County and up north," said John Burgland, senior general manager of the Fox Valley Mall in Appleton. "It's a wonderful opportunity."

Our favorite line from the article? "Morby said he didn't expect The New North coalition to directly bash Chicago's tax rate in any promotions." Thanks for not rubbing it in, guys.

The focus on vacationing families is a good idea; with gas climbing towards $4 per gallon this summer, we don't see very many people driving to east-central Wisconsin for the day just to save a few bucks on sales tax. Of course, we are the kind of people that buy our clothes at Walgreens. But what about the coalition's name? The New North? We get it, it's just not very cool. They couldn't come up with something catchier? Like "The Coalition of the Wooing"?