Friday, December 27, 2013

Ending WI Income Tax Would Hit Cities, Lower Earners

Gov. Walker is laying the groundwork for his 2014 re-election and possible national 2016 presidential bid by thinking aloud about getting rid of the state income tax.

The corporate right's dream scenario, for sure. Welcome to Tax-Free Wisconsin.

But among the consequences - - since even Walker would not wipe out the state-supported public services which he and the right endorse - - corrections, road-building, private schools - - would be a massive shift in service responsibilities to already-strapped local governments where property taxes and fees are already at their limits while basic service and social needs are growing.

So the tougher political and financial choices would be forced on Mayors and council members while Walker and GOP legislators could pose for albums of Holy Pictures/campaign promos as the tax-cutting champions.

Meaning cities like Milwaukee, and Racine, and others would face more real-world obstacles; wealthier suburbs have comparatively lower service needs for certain tax-supported services - - transit, libraries, or parks - - because higher numbers of suburban residents have multiple vehicles, home Internet-connected computers and big yards, and thus would fare better.

The rich would get richer and the poor would get poorer - - individuals and municipalities alike.

There's also talk of shifting some state service financing to sales taxes, either through higher rates or eliminating exemptions. I'll believe the exemption reform when I see it: Sales taxes are never going to be extended to white-collar attorney fees, doctor bills, architectural services, brokerage activities, etc. with significant numbers of Republicans as the practitioner.

And extending or raising sales taxes on more general merchandise will just hit lower-income earners the hardest, repressively.

The right-wing social experimentation underway in Wisconsin in the Walker era has already failed to create jobs matching the national pace - - and Walker is only 42% towards his goal of 250,000 new jobs in a four-year term now just about three years done - - because the changes implemented here are rooted in ideology, not practical economics.

Adding in tax changes that are designed to help Walker while further hammering Wisconsin's cities and their low-income residents will only extend the state's stagnation.


Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic idea! Shift income taxes to a sales tax and maybe seniors will stay in Wisconsin as residents rather than moving to Florida or Texas for tax breaks. Make the sales tax a replacement for the gas tax to increase revenue for roads and highways too.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

This has to be satire, right?

Take a look outside right now and you'll realize a big reason why we should never have a tax structure that has any resemblance to the cultural cesspools known as Texass and Flori- duhhhhh

Mitch said...

Not such a fantastic idea. Most seniors, even in Wisconsin, don't pay state taxes on a lot of their income (Social Security isn't taxed, for example), but they DO pay sales tax, just like everyone else, when they buy things, and they tend to suffer, even more than the rest of us, when property taxes are high.

So eliminating income tax and raising property tax and sales tax won't entice more seniors to stay in Wisconsin and enjoy our wonderful climate.

Bill Kurtz said...

Yeah, the people who move to Florida won't do so anymore- with global warming, taxes are the only reason to go there, right?

Anonymous said...

Privatize many of the UW system jobs and taxes will go down.

Anonymous said...

Good idea, bad idea. No matter. The FitzWalkerstan crew will screw it up.They can't seem to do anything right. Jobs? Nope. WEDC? Ha! Budgeting? They exempted themselves from the constitution. Debt payment? Nope - they kicked that can down the road. Health care? Sending Billions to Washington DC and not getting one cent back - yeah that's fiscally responsible. Face it. Walker is incompetent.

Gareth said...

This will result in a boom in retail sales -- in bordering states. The smuggling of retail goods in car trunks will be profitable enough for citizens to use it as a way to fill out their stagnant Wisconsin wages. How will the authoritarian Walker regime collect his onerous tax on cash purchases made out of state, police road blocks to search vehicles and demand receipts? Fiddling the sales tax will become a way of life in Wisconsin.

I am old enough to remember when margarine was heavily taxed in Wisconsin due to pressure from the dairy lobby. Otherwise honest citizens routinely drove back from Iowa or Minnesota with their trunks full of the stuff. At the time it was considered a healthy substitute for butter.

In the case of alcoholic beverages alone there will be more illicit transport across state lines than at any time since the end of prohibition. The unanticipated consequences of idiotic policy decisions should never be under estimated.

The truth is that Wisconsin residents are now lab rats in a social engineering experiment paid for by the Koch brothers and the Bradley foundation, designed to turn our state into a plutocratic utopia. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

This might be a boon for Indian Reservations. Maybe better than casinos.