Wisconsin’s Tax Climate Still Lags After Second Look

[Madison, Wisc…] A mistake by the Tax Foundation in analyzing Wisconsin’s tax climate ended up highlighting how bad the state’s taxes were prior to Republican reforms beginning in 2011.

The Tax Foundation released a report on Wednesday morning that put Wisconsin’s tax climate as 43rd in the country. However, Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), who is also a CPA, immediately noticed the Foundation failed to consider a $648 million income tax cut in the current budget.

Its analysis claimed that this year’s tax reforms were a part of Senate Bill 200, which passed after the cutoff date for the study of July 1st. SB 200 did not make any changes to the income tax code. The tax cut was a part of the 2013-2015 state budget that was signed on June 30th.

Kooyenga called the Tax Foundation about the mistake.

“The Tax Foundation is embarrassed and are trying to decide what to do,” Kooyenga told the MacIver News Service Wednesday afternoon.

Unfortunately, Kooyenga later discovered even if the tax cut had been properly included in the analysis, Wisconsin’s tax climate would still rank among the bottom ten states in the country. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported the state would rank 40th in a best case scenario that included Kooyenga’s larger original tax cut.

“No matter how you look at it, we’re still in the bottom ten,” Kooyenga told the MacIver News Service. “We still have a long way to go in this state.”

The last budget Democrats passed when they controlled the legislature and governor’s office for 2009-2011 raised taxes by $2 billion.

Republicans took control of the legislature and governor’s office in 2011 and have been working to undo that damage ever since.

On Thursday, Governor Walker announced the state had amassed another $100 million, and he called a special session to put that towards property tax relief.