How often do we feel a certain way about an issue without knowing if it’s actually true?
Wisconsinites elected a governor and state legislature, in part, on the pledge of “lowering taxes.” Yet it seemed to me Wisconsin taxes were unreasonably high. Out of curiosity I did an internet search, which, if I’m reading these charts right, confirms Wisconsin does indeed have some of the highest individual tax rates in the country.
I lamented to several friends, who live there, that Wisconsin was trying to beef up tax revenues on the backs of lower and middle income workers. But, I wondered, is this just me complaining or is it true? I did a little further research and found the vast majority of tax breaks enacted by Wisconsin’s legislative body went to the top 1%, placing a greater tax burden on the lower and middle classes.
Tamerin Cornelius sums it up nicely at the Wisconsin Budget Project blog:
In Wisconsin, the top 1% is thriving. The share of income going to the top 1% in Wisconsin has reached its highest level ever, with nearly 1 out of every 5 dollars of income in Wisconsin going to the top 1%. Wisconsin’s tax system widens the chasm between the very highest earners and everybody else, contributing to hardships for Wisconsin’s families, communities and businesses. Instead of focusing on tax cuts that largely benefit the highest earners, state lawmakers should turn their attention to measures that could grow the state’s economy and lift families out of poverty, such as increasing the minimum wage and reversing the recent cuts in the state’s tax credits for low-income households.
If you’re curious about where your state ranks, take a look.