MacIver News Minute: Taxpayers Become Afterthought In Budget Debate

June 13, 2023

Not long ago, Wisconsin taxpayers had good reason to be excited.

Lawmakers were starting their work on the next state budget with a projected $7 billion surplus… many of them agreed that meant the state collected $7 billion more from taxpayers than it needed.

And they started tossing ideas around about how best to give that money back. The state senate even proposed a 3.5% flat tax, which would have meant a tax cut for everyone who pays Wisconsin state income tax.

Then the government’s own taxpayer funded lobbyists got involved, and the debate suddenly shifted to how to give government more money. State lawmakers weren’t talking about the flat tax anymore. They weren’t talking about any tax reform ideas at all.

In fact, under the deal that was just cut – taxes actually are about to go up in Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to prop up their mismanaged pension funds, while counties, cities, towns, and school districts throughout the state will all see historic funding increases. Unfortunately, in all the excitement it seems everyone in Madison forgot all about those taxpayers. Funny how that happens.