Boots & Sabers

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Owen

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0645, 21 Dec 21

Eliminate the state income tax

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a taste. Merry Christmas!

In my last column before Christmas in 2013, I climbed back on my old hobby horse to once again advocate for eliminating Wisconsin’s income tax and replacing some of the tax revenue with an increase in the sales tax. Eight years later almost to the day, former Governor Scott Walker is leading the charge with a group of tax reform groups to do exactly that. Armed with a study by Noah Williams at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy, Walker and fellow reformers say that it is time for Wisconsin to become the 10th state without a state income tax.

 

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While I strongly support eliminating the state income tax for a hundred reasons, such a move does not correct the biggest problem with state funding. The question of how we fund state government is less important than what we are funding. Wisconsin state government taxes so much because it spends so much. Every single state budget in my lifetime has increased spending from the prior budget.

 

Irrespective of the economic cycle, which political party is in power in Madison, population trends, or the ability of Wisconsinites to pay, state spending always goes up. It is more predictable than the tides. Until we control state spending, we will never take meaningful steps to lower the tax burden. All we are doing is finding better ways to pay.

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0645, 21 December 2021

2 Comments

  1. Mar

    I disagree.
    I think the income tax is a fair tax, with the exception of all the tax breaks for the wealthy.
    In Arizona, our income tax rate averages about 3%. While Wisconis around 6%.
    We have around a 8% sales tax, depending where you live and super low property taxes, compared to Wisconsin.

  2. Tuerqas

    “I think the income tax is a fair tax, with the exception of all the tax breaks for the wealthy.”

    That is a major key isn’t it? A 75,000 page tax code and less than 5,000 pages relate to 90% of the population. A flat tax has unfair aspects, but if it were enforced, the wealthy would end up paying more than they do now.

    “All we are doing is finding better ways to pay.” BINGO!

    Although I would have said ‘All they are doing is finding better ways to charge us’. Our income tax may go down a point under a Republican or our property tax for a year or two, but our combined costs keep spiraling in a hundred other ways every year and only Government is profiting. Yet despite that, their deficits continue to grow.

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