Monday, November 23, 2009

Who's (Ex) Cited, and Who's Taxed in Wisconsin?

First, off I want to thank Capper at Cognitive Dissidence for referencing this blog. Given my (lack of) prolificness on the site, you can tell it's a hobby at best, but it's still pretty cool to see yourself cited...and even linked to! So I'll return the favor on the BRAND NEW links page on the right. I have joined Cognitive Dissidence on the links page with Aaron Renn's excellent blog, the Urbanophile, which goes into city government and lifestyle issues much better than I ever could. I strongly encourage (all 2 or 3 of you that aren't me) to check it out.

Now that I have the killer traffic (it's jest folks), I want to draw your attention to an interesting study from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, titled Who Pays in Wisconsin

What you'll find is the regressive nature of sales taxes (i.e. poor people pay a higher percentage of their income in these taxes), the relatively higher hit to the middle and upper-middle class of property taxes, and the progressive nature of Wisconsin income taxes, where the rich pay a higher percentage. And it also shows that the highest-taxed group (by % of income) is the 20-60% group, mostly because they still pay relatively high sales and property taxes, and can't write off as many of their taxes as richer people can. It also illustrates that those write-offs and regressive nature of sales taxes means the richest folks in this state pay the smallest percentage of state and local taxes, at 6.7%, much lower than the 10.3-10.7% that the middle 3/5 of income-earners in Wisconsin do.

That last item is an important point to make, as the Charles Sykes and Scott Walkers of the world conveniently leave out that higher-income people are much more likely to itemize their taxes on their federal return, which allows them to get back some of their state and local taxes. I've never had any reason to itemize, and have taken the standard deduction in my previous tax years because it was the bigger deduction, and I bet many of you do the same. But you can bet Charlie and Scotty don't, the WMC types that back them don't, and they're counting that the dopes who listen to them don't know that. It's a lot like how national angry-man radio hosts leave out that the "overtaxed" rich pay a much lower % of their income on Social Security and Medicare taxes due to the income cap (by comparison, we pay the full 7.65%)

The state reoport also shows that from a pure % of income standpoint, it's doubly stupid for the WMC crowd to be against higher sales taxes to pay for transit and parks, as opposed to either increased property taxes or cuts that hinder people's ability to take advantage of these needed public goods. Unless you have NPD and think government exists solely for you and your needs, of course.

Also, read the entire report from the ITEP, as it links to all other states, and you'll see just how regressive the plantation states are, especially on people with incomes in the lower 40%, and it'll make you glad you live in a thinking state.

P.S. Enjoying a New Glarus Snowshoe Ale this evening, an amber/red that's sufficiently smooth for me. It's one of the best ways you can help your local manufacturing- drinking high-quality local brews and vinos.


  1. I hope all 4.3 of my readers clicked over to you.

    Now you can get busy adding to your blog roll, because, just like Savoir-Faire, I am everywhere!

  2. Hey, I clicked over! Actually, it's long been my contention that we should talk to people in percentages of income, as opposed to total amounts ($500 means a helluva lot more to me, you know?).