GOP Lawmakers Want to Create Jukebox Tax Break

September 29, 2015

Two Republican lawmakers are working on a proposal to create a tax break for owners and operators of jukeboxes.

The measure, which is being offered by Reps. John Nygren, of Marinette, and Rob Swearingen, of Rhinelander, would create a partial sales tax exemption on the playing time on a jukebox. The bill would also exempt from the sales tax music and music storage devices that are sold, licensed, leased or rented for use on or as part of a jukebox.

The measure is likely to draw support from jukebox vendors and tourism, leisure and entertainments interests, which include businesses that use jukeboxes, like taverns, bowling alleys and arcades.

Between January 2011 and December 2014, leisure and tourism interests contributed about $8,300 to Nygren, who is co-chair of the legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee.  Jukebox vendors, leisure and entertainment interests also contributed about $31,800 to Swearingen, who is also a Rhinelander restaurant owner.

Top tourism industry contributors to Nygren include Joseph and Sharon Jankers, of Eagle River, owners of Tommy’s Bar, $1,100; Rachelle and Emilio Ibarra, of Rhinelander, owners of the Rusty Nail, $1,087; and Joyce and Cecil Beach, of Phillips, owners of Beach’s Roadside, $765.

The top tourism and leisure industry contributors to Swearingen were Neil and Brooke Gilbertson, of Saxon, and Nicholas Gilbertson, of Minoqua, owners of Northern Lakes Amusement, $1,250; Brad and Jay Coubal, of Chippewa Falls, owners of Northwest Coin Machine, $1,000; and the Tavern Industry Political Action Committee, $1,000.