Tag Archives: Taxes

Walker Proposes Tax Incentives to Other Paper Companies

Wouldn’t it be easier, at this point, to just lower taxes for everyone?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday suggested the state could extend its tax break offer to paper companies besides Kimberly-Clark if the opportunity to prevent job losses is “significant.”

Walker on Monday proposed increasing the tax breaks available to paper company Kimberly-Clark in an effort to prevent the company from shuttering two plants located in Neenah and Fox Crossing, resulting in the loss of 610 jobs from the Fox Valley region.

Under Walker’s proposal, the company could receive a tax incentive of 17 percent of its payroll — up from the 7 percent available under current law. The plan is modeled after the tax breaks offered to Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn, which will receive more than $3 billion in incentives from the state as it builds a plant in southeastern Wisconsin.

Americans see immediate impact from tax reform

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

Even the most optimistic of supporters of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” President Trump signed into law just before Christmas did not anticipate the immediate and substantial impact it would have in the lives of so many low income and middle class Americans. American businesses are racing to announce their plans for their tax savings and over two million Americans are already going to receive a substantial bonus thanks to tax reform.

There were two major thrusts of the Republican tax reform plan, but they rested on the same principle. That principle is that the quickest path to economic growth and prosperity for individual Americans is to allow them to keep more of their own money and spend it where they choose. This principle runs contrary to the totalitarian notion that has been popular in the past several years that a group of central planners should collect Americans’ wealth through forced taxation and redistribute it back into the economy as they see fit.

The first thrust of the tax reform plan was a reform of individual taxes to allow Americans to send less money to Washington. Individual tax rates were lowered, the standard deduction was raised, the Obamacare individual mandate was repealed, the child tax credit was increased and other changes were made to the tax laws with the goal of lowering the overall tax burden for most taxpayers.

The effect of these changes has yet to be seen. Americans are likely to see more take home pay beginning in February as the IRS adjusts withholding schedules to take less money out for the federal government. Some of the benefits of this part of the tax reform law will not be seen until 2019 when Americans file their federal taxes. As 2018 progresses, millions and millions of Americans will have a little more money in their pockets to spend on their priorities — not the priorities of politicians in Washington.

The second major thrust of the Republican tax reform plan was to lower taxes on American businesses. Corporate taxes have been lowered from the confiscatory maximum of 35 percent to a more average 21 percent. The new law also lowered taxes for other business entities like sole proprietorships and partnerships. The new law made modifications to how businesses depreciate capital investments and changed the United States to a territorial tax system to make it easier for businesses to move their foreign earnings back to our shores.

While many of the tax savings for businesses will also not be realized for a while, businesses are already announcing their plans to invest the savings in their employees, infrastructure and elsewhere. Americans for Tax Reform has been keeping a tally of the announcements. Here are a few examples:

 Aflac is increasing its 401(k) match from 50 percent to 100 percent and kicking $500 into every employee’s 401(k);

 U.S. Bancorp is giving a $1,000 bonus to 60,000 employees, raising their base wage to $15 an hour and is giving $150 million to charities;

 Southwest Airlines is giving a $1,000 bonus to all of its 55,000 employees and $5 million additional charitable donations;

 PNC is giving $1,000 bonuses to 47,500 employees, kicking in $1,500 to each employee’s pension accounts, raising their base wage to $15 an hour and giving $200 million to charities

 Nationwide Insurance is giving a $1,000 bonus to 29,000 employees and increasing 401(k) matching contributions for 33,000 employees;

 Fiat Chrysler is giving a $2,000 bonus to 60,000 employees and investing $1 billion in a factory in Michigan — creating 2,500 new jobs;

 Waste Management Inc. is giving $2,000 bonuses to 34,000 employees The list goes on and on. The reasons are quite simple. Businesses operate in a competitive environment and need to invest their profits into their employees and infrastructure in order to remain competitive. And contrary to the demonizing rhetoric of Democrats, most businesses are run by decent people who do want to improve the world around them.

As tens of millions of Americans see their wages increase, receive bonuses, and spend less on taxes thanks to the Republican’s tax reform law, they will invest that money into their own lives in a billion different ways. Some will spend a little more on their kids. Some will think about starting a business. Some will give a bit more to charity. Some will buy ammo. Some will blow it on lottery tickets and booze. The point is, however, that individual Americans will be making their own choices to benefit their own lives.

And come November, I suspect that many Americans will remember that not a single Democrat voted to allow Americans to keep more of their own money.


High Tax States Reacting to Federal Tax Reform


CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — In New Jersey and California, top Democratic officials want to let people make charitable contributions to the state instead of paying certain taxes. In Connecticut and New York, officials are exploring a switch from income taxes to new ones on payroll. A few governors have even called for tax cuts.


In high-tax states, officials have been focused on protecting taxpayers from the impact of a new $10,000 cap on deductions for paying state and local taxes. In California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, more than one-third of tax filers claim the state and local tax deduction on federal taxes; the average deduction in each state is over $15,000.

California state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate, introduced legislation this week that would allow people to make charitable donations to the state instead of paying income taxes. That would allow them to claim a charitable deduction on federal taxes.


Another Democrat, New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, announced a similar plan on Friday but said local governments also could implement it and apply it to property taxes.

If they drop income and property taxes and go to a voluntary donation system, then I’m all for it. It will be a great experiment to see how much money the people in those states really believe that they should be handing over to their state and local governments. If it is a “donation” that is required by law, then it’s just a tax by another name. Somehow, I don’t think these state elected leaders really want to make taxes voluntary. They know what would happen as well as I do.

“Typical family of four”


Gov. Scott Walker’s administration on Wednesday calculated that the typical family of four in Wisconsin will get a $2,508 tax cut under the Republican tax overhaul signed into law last week.

The analysis drew criticism from Democrats and others who said Walker’s Department of Revenue cherry-picked the most favorable numbers to cast the tax cut in the best light possible.

Walker’s analysis looked only at the impact on a typical family of four with two children eligible for an expanded child-care tax credit. He did not offer any numbers showing the impact on other families with more or fewer qualifying children, or on single filers or couples with no children.

Apparently Democrats think that the definition of a “typical family of four” should be expanded to include single people, families with a different number of kids, and and childless couples.

Letters to the Editor

This post is for my fellow Benders. The rest of y’all can talk amongst yourselves for a few minutes…

There are two really good and interesting letters to the editor in the Washington County Daily News today. The first is from Jim Geldreich, the Chairman of the Washington County Republican Party, who takes one of the local liberal columnists to task for his tired pro-tax rhetoric. Geldreich begins:

The most overused mantra of Democrats and liberal columnists is “tax breaks for the wealthy.”. We’ve heard this timeworn and uninspiring allegation since the GW Bush tax cuts of 2002. When an effective, fact-based argument cannot be put forth against Republican tax cuts, we’re told they’re “tax breaks for the wealthy” and nothing more. Therefore I’m not surprised this was the overriding theme of the majority of the last two columns by Daily News writer Al Rudnitzki. Instead of using his bi-monthly column space to educate the readers on the tax plan, he chose to demagogue the issue calling it the “Trump Tax Scam” and to take cheap shots at the Republican Party and its leadership.

Go read the whole thing.

The second letter is from Therese Sizer, who is a former West Bend School Board Member. Sizer resigned after the board passed a policy regarding board members and nepotism (as an aside, I thought her resignation was unnecessary under the policy, but she clearly thought differently). Sizer has some insightful commentary on the culture around the West Bend School Board that keeps driving good people, like the former superintendent, away. She concludes:

Let’s vow to look beyond social media gossip as our news source. Let us demand that media reports be fair, unbiased and well researched. Finally, let’s consider that real issues only find real answers through collaboration and respect. Local government is about transparency and accountability. But those can’t be just words used to whip each other. They must mean something about community spirit, collaboration and responsibility. I respectfully disagree with recently published opinions that encourage us to support one group of school board members over another. Partisanship and bullying have no place in a board room.

Go read that whole letter too.

Boeing to Invest in Employees and Charities with Tax Savings


Shortly after Republicans officially passed their new tax plan, Boeing made an announcement stating that it will invest $300 million in employee-related and charitable causes.

Of the total amount, one-third will go to workforce development for things like ongoing training and education. Another third will be reserved for “workplace of the future” infrastructure improvements. The last $100 million will be invested in charities within Boeing’s focus areas such as education and support for veterans.

Comcast to Issue Bonuses After Tax Reform


Citing “the passage of tax reform and the FCC’s action on broadband” (aka the Dec. 14 vote to repeal net neutrality), Comcast chief Brian Roberts announced $1,000 bonuses would go to more than 100,000 front-line and non-executive employees.

My Tax Cut

According to CNN’s calculator. How about you?


House Passes Tax Bill

Huzzah, huzzah.

The House of Representatives approved the final version of the first overhaul of the U.S tax code in more than thirty years, handing President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans their most significant legislative victory of 2017.

The bill passed along sharp partisan lines, 227 – 203, with 12 House GOP members opposing the legislation, and no Democrats voting for it.

The Senate is expected to clear the bill later on Tuesday, with Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the vote. The measure then heads to the president’s desk for his signature before the Christmas holiday making good on the Republican party’s promise to enact tax relief by the end of the year.

GOP Reaches Compromise on Tax Bill

So far, so good.

House and Senate Republican leaders have reached an agreement in principle that would lower the corporate tax rate to 21 percent beginning in 2018, several people briefed on the plan said, a central component of the $1.5 trillion tax plan they hope to vote into law by next week.

The agreement would also lower the top tax rate for families and individuals from 39.6 percent to at least 37 percent, a change that would deliver a major tax cut for upper-income households.

I thought that the Moore defeat would raise the fear of Senate Republican defections would push the House to just pass the Senate version. I’m pleasantly surprised that not only does it look like the caucus is hanging together, but that what we know of the compromise looks better than expected.

“It makes me infuriated.”

I feel the same way every time the government increases my taxes too.

“I took a risk” to enter graduate school, Tischauser said. “Now they want to take more money out of the measly salary I take home. It makes me infuriated.”

But liberals call me selfish when I want to keep more of the money I earn instead of surrendering it in taxes.

Grad Students Whine About Real World Taxes


Li, like other UW-Madison grad students, makes $18,000 per year. But under the bill, different versions of which passed the House and the Senate, she’d be taxed as if she makes roughly $50,000.

This is because her tuition, which is fully funded, would be taxed as if it was additional income under the bill. It’s a policy change that would dramatically affect “what type of person can go to grad school,” according to Don Moynihan, the director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs.

“When you’re a graduate student, you get paid a small amount of money … but you get the benefit that your tuition is paid,” Moynihan said, speaking as part of a panel alongside Li. “[If the provision becomes law], only the fairly wealthy will be able to afford to take this on.”

Li’s story echoes those of many graduate students around the country who have come out in opposition to the controversial tax. Li acknowledged that although her ability to pay for graduate school would be jeopardized under the bill, her classmates who have spouses and families would be even more affected.

Um, no… she won’t be “taxed as if she makes roughly $50,000.” She does make roughly $50,000 and will be taxed accordingly. The fact that over half of her income is paid in the form of tuition relief is immaterial. She is receiving something of value in exchange for her work. That is compensation. Here’s a handy definition:

(a) The term compensation means any form of payment made to an individual for services rendered as an employee for anemployerservices performed as an employee representative; and any separation or subsistence allowance paid under any benefit schedule provided in conformance with title VII of the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 and any termination allowance paid under section 702 of that ActCompensation may be paid as money, a commodity, a service or a privilege.

So what these graduate students are complaining about is the fact that they have been receiving tax-free compensation for years and now it might be taxed like everyone else’s compensation. Boo hoo.

Senate Passes Tax Reform Bill

Good. On to reconciliation.

Presiding over the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence announced the 51-49 vote to applause from Republicans. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was the only lawmaker to cross party lines, joining the Democrats in opposition. The measure focuses its tax reductions on businesses and higher-earning individuals, gives more modest breaks to others and offers the boldest rewrite of the nation’s tax system since 1986.

McCain Will Support Tax Plan


(CNN)Sen. John McCain said Thursday he will support Senate Republicans’ tax plan, a major sign of progress for GOP leaders as the party barrels toward a vote on their overhaul of the US tax system by the end of the week.

McCain, who had remained a wild card and had kept his position on the tax bill unclear even from leadership, said that he came to support the legislation because he believed it had gone through committee and would improve the economic outcome of Americans.

AT&T CEO Promises Investment if Tax Reform Passes

This is one company. There are billions of dollars of pent up projects that businesses would do if they had more capital.

If tax reform passes, AT&T (T) CEO Randall Stephenson said the company will spend “at least” $1 billion in capital expenditure and be able to create an estimated 7,000 jobs.

“From my standpoint, the driver of this is the business tax reform… if we get investment going, we get productivity going, we get wage gain going, we invest another billion dollars. Every billion dollars AT&T invests is 7,000 hard hat jobs. These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year,” Stephenson said at an event hosted by The Economic Club of New York on Wednesday.

He described passing tax reform as a “major” and “significant” item for the U.S. economy.

“I cannot overstate how important I think a tax bill that makes the US corporate taxes a competitive regime around the world — that’s big. That’s significant,” he said.

He explained that it would be a “capital-freeing” event for corporate America.

“You are freed up to invest more capital. We have so many initiatives and projects that we would like to invest more in.”

Tax Bill Moves Forward in Senate

Good news. Remember that whatever they pass will still be subject to rewrite during reconciliation.

WASHINGTON — Two Republican critics of the Senate’s tax reform legislation voted to advance the bill out of committee and send it to the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon without adding their desired changes to it.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., both voted to advance the measure out of the Budget Committee in a party line vote after Senate Republicans met with President Trump for an hour over lunch. Johnson had threatened to block the bill if it was not amended to include a lower pass-through tax rate for small-business owners.

Johnson and Trump went back and forth over the issue at the lunch, and Johnson told reporters he was convinced enough progress was being made for him to vote the bill out of committee — a key first step that could deliver the president his first legislative victory.

CBO Spins for Democrats


Poor Americans would lose billions of dollars worth of federal benefits under the Senate GOP tax bill, according to a new Congressional Budget Office report.

This is largely because the legislation would eliminate the individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. This would result in 13 million fewer people having coverage in 2027, the CBO found.

Many of the folks who would forgo coverage would have lower or moderate incomes and would have qualified for Medicaid or federal help paying their premiums or out-of-pocket health expenses, CBO found.

So follow their “logic”… if we repeal the unconstitutional individual mandate that forces people to purchase health insurance, millions of people would choose to exercise their Gog-given free will to forgo buying said insurance. But by doing so, those same people won’t be taking advantage of subsidies that are funded by other people. So… somehow that’s a bad thing?

Graduate Students Fret Over Real World Taxation


Talk among graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been buzzing with speculation about a proposed federal tax bill that could hike their income taxes so high some wonder whether they could complete their degrees.

“A lot of folks are debating whether they would be able to stay in school,” said Adria Brooks, co-present of the Teaching Assistants Association, a labor union representing graduate student workers at UW-Madison. “People are panicked, they’re unsure of what to do,” Brooks said.

The U.S. House approved a tax reform bill Nov. 16 that would eliminate a section of the IRS code that exempts tuition remission for graduate students from taxes, making it taxable income.

Graduate students at public universities who work as teaching or research assistants often receive tuition reductions in addition to stipends for their work.

Well, it IS income, isn’t it? If a private employer gives an employee tuition assistance, it counts as income if it’s over a certain amount. Why wouldn’t the same apply if the employer is the university?

Murkowski Won’t Oppose Tax Bill For Ending Obamacare Diktat

She still won’t commit to voting for the bill, but at least she appears to be leaning that way. The Senate just jumped a huge hurdle

With Republicans preparing to vote on tax cut legislation next week, Murkowski announced on Tuesday that she would not oppose the bill simply because it includes a provision repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

Murkowski made the announcement in an op-ed for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. And she was careful not to promise she’d vote for the final tax legislation.

Senator Johnson Opposes Tax Plan

I’ve had about enough with Senator Johnson.

(CNN)Sen. Ron Johnson announced he is opposed to the tax bill Wednesday, making him the first member of the GOP to formally come out against the party’s plan, though the Wisconsin Republican said he was hopeful about being able to support a final version once changes are made.

Johnson issued a statement saying the current proposal in both chambers is imbalanced in favor of large corporations but he left open the door to supporting the bills if they are altered.
“Unfortunately, neither the House nor Senate bill provide fair treatment, so I do not support either in their current versions,” he said. “I do, however, look forward to working with my colleagues to address the disparity so I can support the final version.”
Here’s the thing… I supported Johnson for election – twice. He originally ran on repealing Obamacare. When it came to getting that done, he and his colleagues failed. Now when it is coming to tax reform, he’s about to be a part of it failing. He’s become a Senator that’s all hat and no cattle. It doesn’t do anyone any good for Johnson to tour Wisconsin and tell us how bad Obamacare is or how much our tax code needs reform if he is unable to bring himself to actually support DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
As to his specific objection, it’s horse shit. The entire purpose of tax reform, I thought, was to spur economic growth and simplify the tax code. Both the House bill and the Senate bill (I like the House’s better) will accomplish those goals to some degree. Yes, in an ideal world, I would like the bill to cut taxes for more people and businesses and be much more simple, but it also has to be something that can get a majority of votes. Johnson is making the enemy of the good. But given the fact that Johnson is smart enough to know that getting something is better than getting nothing, I can only assume that he is just using this as an excuse because he doesn’t actually want to reform our tax system.
Less talk, Ron. More action.