The better goal is the aforementioned $2.2 billion, the Doyle tax increases. The fastest way to do that is to eliminate the corporate income tax, which in 2010 was estimated to bring in $1.63 billion. Whatever businesses in this state choose to do with that $1.63 billion — increase employee pay, hire more employees, increase owner dividends, or invest back into the business — will be preferable to $1.63 billion for state and local governments to waste. (People with brains know that businesses don’t pay taxes anyway; their customers do, so a business tax cut is a consumer tax cut.)
The remainder should go into personal income tax cuts, enough to substantially reduce Wisconsin’s ranking as number four in state and local taxes. How should this be “paid for”? How about this radical thought: Create a 2013–15 state budget that is smaller than the 2011–13 state budget. A tax cut that people do notice should be able to generate more economic activity, with the added benefit of helping to Obama-proof the state’s economy as much as doable.
There is another issue, which fuels the cynicism of those who claim that Republicans aren’t really interested in reducing the size and scope of government. Had legislative Republicans done the right thing and passed permanent constitutional limits on year-to-year spending for all levels of government early in the 2011–12 Legislature, the Legislature could be voting on those constitutional spending limits in this session of the Legislature, and then sending it to referendum. Given that voters voted to have Republicans represent them in 2010 and 2012, there is a good chance a Taxpayer Bill of Rights-like mechanism would then become law, preventing legislators of any party from stoking the fires of our state’s tax hell.
Policrats on all levels sicken me with their self aggrandizement for not doing the job. After reading a Letter to the Editor in the local driveby media, I wrote the following to the paper as a reply.
After reading the recent Letter about Washington County Supervisors from Germantown and their tireless efforts to reduce our County taxes, I felt it important to include some details so these public servants can get the accolades they so richly deserve.
For example, our County Fair Park, that took $30M taxpayer dollars to build, requires about $500K tax dollars a year to stay in operation; our non-taxpaying County Golf Course that took more tax dollars to build, eats up nearly $250K a year. Of course, county taxpayer dollars do flow to needed community programs like our County Homeless Coalition that last year received $25K but I think it would be nice to see some of the $200K spend on travel, meals and conference fees diverted to helping our most needy citizens.
While Milwaukee County was reducing head count by 20%, Washington County’s staff grew but this year Washington County Supervisors put their foot down and voted to control wages. They approved “pay parity” with private industry. Sadly, Supervisors ignored County’s high cost health care and pension programs as part of their consideration. Perks those of use that work for a living in the private sector can only envy but never enjoy.
So while every County Department reviews how to get the best results for less, the question remains unanswered why our County taxes are ~35% higher than Ozaukee or Waukesha Counties. In any case, as these Supervisors pat themselves on the back with one hand, it would be advisable for County taxpayers to keep a close eye on what the other hand is doing. Looks to me like they are pursuing their “conservative philosophy” with their other hand on my wallet.