Creative 3D illustration by Getty Images.
Wisconsin Republicans propose to throw the record-setting $6.6 billion state budget surplus out of Capitol windows. State citizens can seize cash in flight.
Poor individuals get little. The GOP flat tax saves the lowest Wisconsin tax bracket $37 annually.
In response, Jason Stein of the Wisconsin Policy Forum told Wisconsin Examiner reporter Baylor Spears that after the first few years, when the surplus is burned up, it may be difficult to pay for basic services like public schools, health care for low-income kids, the UW System, public safety, and a variety of local government services.
Republicans’ flat tax favors Wisconsin’s rich. The highest tax bracket—single filers with earnings over $280,950 and joint filers with incomes over $374,600—would pay less than half what they pay now at the 3.25% flat tax (the present progressive tax rate is 7.65%).
Wealthy people think the state should provide good schools, safe streets, and cities with road repairs and waste collection.
Republican legislators said “hardworking Wisconsinites” deserve extra money. Wisconsinites overpay, they say. Full government coffers? Fast return.
Overtaxation is not our largest state issue. Taxes don’t boost state budgets.
Wisconsin Policy Forum reported the lowest state and local tax burden in 2022.
Republicans are partially right: By withholding money from local governments and especially local public school districts, which received an unprecedented zero increase in the current, two-year budget, Republicans have let billions of dollars pile up in state coffers, unspent while enforcing completely unnecessary austerity measures.
Over the past two decades, Wisconsin’s education and municipal services have gone from well-funded to underfunded and reaching a fiscal cliff as federal epidemic relief money runs out.
Republicans starve public schools and local governments despite a strong state budget.
The Legislature’s Republicans’ outrage over massive federal pandemic relief spending was astounding. They slashed education financing and forced schools to use one-time federal monies for ongoing costs.
They also wanted to cut Gov. Tony Evers’ child care, school, and small business financing. At the opening of a new session, they’re proposing compelling Medicaid participants to work for their health care and using a flat tax to remove excess, which may bankrupt the state in a few years.
The budget office expects a surplus of $8.4 billion in 2023-24 and $9.7 billion in 2024-25 under the progressive tax structure.
Wisconsin Republicans struggle to shrink government to drown in the bathtub. Their entire idea of letting the wealthy get rich by scaring us is in jeopardy. Non-financial.
What if taxpayers collaborated to develop our society? Republicans despise this vision. Democracy necessitates. Build a decent society instead of competing for scraps.
Evers said we have a straightforward choice notwithstanding Republicans. Our progressive tax structure can fund great public schools, good infrastructure, and a society without housing and health care needs while maintaining the lowest state income tax rates in history.
Wisconsin Republicans say the flat tax will attract businesses and employment. This implies individuals prefer low-tax states.
Homebuyers like local schools. Realtors know. Republicans’ school budget cuts and property tax limitations hurt Wisconsin employers’ biggest recruiting tool.
Parks, clean streets, public transportation, and healthy environments are desirable.
Lost? Wisconsin Public Universities: State and municipal spending per full-time-equivalent student at the state’s colleges and technical institutions went from 6.4% above the national average to 16.5% below it between 2000 and 2019.
The Policy Forum warns that higher education is essential to state prosperity. Research shows the state adding the most college-educated jobs. Wisconsin loses brains.
Congressional data ranks us among the top 10 states with a high percentage of highly educated people leaving the state while struggling to attract 3 educated workers.
The American Legislative Exchange Council has long argued that the most “competitive” business environments—low taxes and public investment, low minimum wages, the most disempowered workforce, the fewest public employees (including public school teachers), and the fewest worker protections—are the best places to live in the U.S. Mark Pocan coined it speed dating.
ALEC releases an annual “Rich States/Poor States” report analyzing states’ “economic competitiveness” and writes model tax reduction and deregulation legislation. Wisconsin Republicans get their legislation, debates, and ideas here.
High ALEC rankings generally correspond with low US News & World Report and EdWeek rankings of states with the best schools and student achievement. New Jersey, sixth in US News’ high school rankings and A- from EdWeek for K-12 pupils’ “potential for success,” is 49th on ALEC’s list.
Before Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin ranked 11th in primary and secondary education per-pupil spending. Union-busting and budget cuts raised our ALEC “competitiveness” score from 33rd in 2008 to 14th in 2022. Per-student spending is low. Flat taxes boost ALEC.
We lose from “competitiveness” cuts. Most Wisconsinites don’t desire a low-wage, high-poverty corporate utopia.