Some States Tackle Corporate Tax Havens

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 6:43 PM by

Report Released Today Recommends State and Federal Reforms to Close Offshore Tax Havens

Maine legislators recently gave preliminary approval to a bill that could make it the third state to pass legislation to crack down on corporate tax avoidance in off-shore tax havens. The proposed legislation would close the so-called “water’s edge” loophole by requiring corporations to report income from a list of 38 known offshore tax havens. Passage of the bill would generate an estimated $10 million per year (in a state less than a quarter of the size of Wisconsin).

Oregon and Montana have already enacted such legislation. In 2010, Montana recovered $7.2 million, and state analysts expect Oregon to recover $18 million this year. The problem costs states about $1 billion, according to a report by US PIRG report.  You can read more about the bills in these three states in an April 3 Washington Post blog post. Read more

Taxes Make Investments in a Strong Economy Possible

Monday, April 14, 2014 at 6:00 AM by

firefighter2Tax Day is approaching, and with it comes many negative messages about taxes. But this Tax Day, let’s remember that to build a strong economy and create jobs, we need to invest in what works – and we can’t do that without taxes. 

To build a strong Wisconsin economy, we need to invest in assets that help businesses thrive and help hard-working people climb into the middle class. That means Wisconsin needs to continue our tradition of supporting high-quality schools and preschools, an affordable university system, a healthy workforce, and a clean environment.

Taxes make these investments possible.

When state lawmakers cut income taxes for the wealthy or for corporations, we undermine our ability to support important services that Wisconsin businesses and residents rely on every day.  We should focus on making sure we have the resources we need to invest in the building blocks of job creation and economic growth. Read more

In Wisconsin’s Tax System, Best-Off Pay the Smallest Share of their Income in Taxes

Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 6:44 AM by

Wisconsin is a better place when we all do well.  Unfortunately, while the wealthiest have seen their incomes skyrocket in recent decades, incomes have stagnated for the middle class and low-income people.  It’s becoming harder to stay in the middle class in Wisconsin.

Our state tax system makes this problem worse. In fact, if you look at who pays taxes in Wisconsin, it turns out that middle-class and low-income families pay a bigger share of their incomes in state and local taxes than the wealthiest households in the state. We call on struggling families to pay 9.6 cents out of every dollar they earn in state and local taxes, while the wealthiest taxpayers pay just 6.9 cents out of every dollar of income. And many large, profitable corporations in Wisconsin pay little or no state income taxes.

Best Off Pay Smallest Share of Income in Taxes

Wisconsin’s Earned Income Tax Credit helps address this problem by allowing parents who work at low-wage jobs to keep more of their income, making it possible to afford basic necessities.  Read more

Don’t Be Kansas: Impact of Massive Tax Cuts on Kansas Offers a Warning to Wisconsin

Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 8:53 AM by

Wisconsin lawmakers advocating for more tax cuts should consider the example of Kansas, a state that has pushed through enormous tax cuts and that has been held up by tax-cut proponents as a model worth replicating.

Categories: Blog, EDUCATION, Home Tab 1, K-12, STATE TAXES, taxes | Comments Off

New Report Shows Major Corporations Based in Wisconsin Pay Little in State Income Tax

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 5:40 AM by

A number of large, profitable corporations in Wisconsin pay little or nothing in state corporate income tax, according to a new report. Loopholes, tax credits, and creating accounting keep the amount these corporations pay in income tax to a minimum.

Categories: Blog, corporate tax, Home Tab 3, STATE TAXES, taxes | Comments Off

Tax Cut Passes the Assembly, but Tax Increase Stays in Place

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 3:20 PM by

On the same day that the state Assembly passed a substantial property and income tax cut package, it declined to reverse a recent tax hike for parents who work at low-wage jobs.

The $537 million tax cut package, which diverts money that would otherwise go to the state’s rainy day fund, has already been approved by the Senate and now goes to the governor for his signature. (For more about the tax cut, read our March 4th blog post, Five Things to Know about Wisconsin’s Proposed Tax Cut Package.)  ”That’s exactly what taxpayers want — giving their money back to them rather than keep their dollars here in Madison,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

Despite the Assembly’s enthusiasm for cutting taxes, it missed a chance yesterday to roll back a recent tax increase for families with low incomes.  The Assembly failed to advance a bill that would repeal changes made the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2011 that resulted in working parents with low incomes paying higher taxes. Read more

Categories: Blog, EITC, income taxes, STATE TAXES, taxes | Comments Off

Five Things to Know about Wisconsin’s Proposed Tax Cut Package

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 3:50 PM by

State lawmakers seem intent on passing the property and income tax cut package proposed by Governor Walker. So far the proposal has passed the Assembly, has been approved with minor changes by the legislature’s budget panel, and was approved by the Senate today. The proposal will need to head back to the Assembly for final approval before being signed by Governor Walker.

Here are five things to know about the tax cut proposal. Some of them have been well-reported in the media, but others have received little attention.

1. The proposal cuts income and property taxes, for a total of $537 million in tax cuts over two years after factoring in indirect impacts. Here is how that amount breaks down:

  • $404 million in an across-the-board property tax cut.
  • $99 million for reducing the bottom income tax bracket from 4.4% to 4.0%. The maximum benefit from this measure would be about $58 per year.
  • Read more

Categories: Blog, rainy day fund, STATE TAXES, taxes | Comments Off

Of a Surplus of Nearly $1 Billion, Not a Dime is Going to the Rainy Day Fund

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 5:05 PM by

umbrella2In their eagerness to provide tax cuts, state lawmakers have pushed aside a law aimed at encouraging fiscal responsibility that requires half of state surplus revenue be set aside for a rainy day.

When the budget surplus of nearly $1 billion over two years was announced earlier this year, it seemed likely that Wisconsin’s rainy day fund would get a much needed boost. State law requires that when revenues exceed budgeted amounts, half the additional revenue must be deposited into the state’s rainy day fund, which is used to cushion against future economic downturns. In the absence of a tax cut package, the projected level of surplus would result in an additional $443 million transferred to Wisconsin’s rainy day fund over the next two years.

Wisconsin’s rainy day fund has long been underfunded. In fact, for years that fund was nearly completely empty. Since the end of the recession, the state has been regularly depositing money into the rainy day fund when revenues have exceeded projected amounts, and Wisconsin’s rainy day fund currently has a balance of $279 million. Read more

Categories: Blog, rainy day fund, STATE BUDGET, STATE TAXES, taxes | Comments Off

Odd Man Out: Unlike the Rest of the Tax Code, Homestead Tax Credit is Not Adjusted for Rising Cost of Living

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 3:44 PM by

When it comes to the Wisconsin tax code, the Homestead Tax Credit, which provides property tax relief to owners and renters with low incomes, is the odd man out. That’s because the Homestead Credit is the only significant portion of the tax code that is not adjusted to keep up with the rising cost of living. The consequence is that Wisconsin residents with low incomes see their property tax relief shrink a little more each year.

Nearly all elements of the tax code are indexed, or adjusted to keep up with inflation and other rising costs. For example, each year the income levels for different income tax brackets increase slightly, so that the brackets are kept comparable from year to year. And in the past year, the Legislature has approved bills adjusting a couple of other  tax laws for inflation, such as the recent legislation to annually index the EdVest program, which includes a tax deduction for contributions to EdVest savings accounts.   Read more

Categories: Blog, Homestead credit, STATE BUDGET, STATE TAXES, taxes | Comments Off

Tiny Piece of Projected Surplus Could Mitigate Recent Tax Increases on Families and Seniors with Low Incomes

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 12:09 PM by

Many of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable families and elderly adults would not get much help from the Governor’s plan for the projected state surplus. That could change if the Legislature were to use a small fraction of the surplus to undo recent cuts to the Homestead Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.