Wednesday, June 29, 2016

11 Wis-oligarchs get $21.5 mil written off. And other M&A garbage!

A few numbers from today's bombshell LFB memo which shows just how slanted the WisGOP-signed Manufacturers and Agriculture giveaway tax credit is for the rich. The big number that State Rep. Gordon Hintz (who made the request of LFB) and most of the media is centering on is that 11 Wisconsinites making $35 million or more are slated to get over $21.5 million of their taxes taken off the books in 2017 due to the M&A credit.

But there are plenty of other figures to add from this memo.

1.Just under 1/8 of the people projected to use the M&A credit as a write-off on their income taxes make $1 million or more. However, over ¾ of the $209 million in income tax reductions will go to these mega-millionaires ($161.8 million of $209.1 million).

2.By comparison, less than 2% of the benefits of this tax cut go to Wisconsin tax filers who make less than $100,000 (just over $4 million). This is despite the fact that tax filers who made $100,000 or less were just under 89% of the state’s tax returns in 2013 (see page 28 of this PDF).

3. The separation between the “pretty damn rich” and “absurdly rich” is really notable with the M&A tax cut. The $21.5 million that the 11 mega-millionaires are slated to get from this giveaway is almost as much as the $23.8 million that over 1,000 people with incomes of $500,000-$1 million would get. And the average tax cut for the mega-millionaires is nearly 83 times bigger than the ones for Wisconsinites who make $500,000-$1 million.

And as Hintz rightfully brings up, the M&A tax cut is simply a cash giveaway, with no activity required other than making shitloads of money to make it worthwhile move. And it puts a spotlight on the choices that have been made by the ALEC/WiGOP crew.
“If you divide up each UW System student’s share of Governor Walker’s $250 million cut to the their school in this budget alone, it comes out to about $1,400 in funding cuts per student over two years. Yet at the same time we are giving away over $21 million to 11 multi-millionaires who don’t have to create a single job. This is tax policy at its most reckless and regressive.”
I’ll differ with Rep. Hintz on one item- I don’t think this is reckless as much as it is intentional. After all, mega-millionaires are a lot more likely to give campaign contributions and set up superPACs to kick back some of that tax cut to political candidates that help them.

I’ll leave to the always straight-shooting State Sen. Dave Hansen to sum up the regressive obscenity known as the M&A tax cut, which is blowing up at the same time that the state claims it lacks money for other needs.
“Critical road construction projects and local road repairs are delayed because Republicans are unwilling to adequately fund the transportation budget. They even refuse to help nearly 1 million residents refinance their student loans at lower rates.

“Their only reason for getting elected seems to be to give more and more of our hard-earned tax dollars to millionaires and billionaires…. [Hansen said]

“These are people who already pay less than their fair share of taxes, yet Wisconsin workers and their families are expected to dutifully hand over their hard-earned tax dollars and watch their quality of life sacrificed on the altar of a failed trickle-down tax scheme run amok.

“Is it any wonder that a majority of Wisconsinites think we are on the wrong track? This isn’t tax reform. It’s a travesty.”

For another take with more detail on this, check out the Wisconsin Budget Project's updated post on this new memo on the M&A giveaway credit.

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