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Wisconsin governor rejects eliminating state income tax

Conservative groups propose eliminating 6.27% personal income tax and replacing it by slightly increasing state’s sales tax.

December 17, 2021 10:33am

Updated: December 18, 2021 12:15am

There is a growing list of people and groups who are not fans of the idea to scrap Wisconsin’s personal income tax.

Former Gov. Scott Walker, University of Wisconsin economist Noah Williams, and a host of conservative reform groups on Thursday proposed eliminating Wisconsin 6.27% personal income tax and replacing the lost revenue with a slight increase in the state’s sales tax.

Walker, and Williams’ analysis, say most Wisconsin taxpayers will save about $1,700 a year with that swap.

Wisconsin’s Main Street Alliance said the tax swap would hurt lower income families.

“Abolishing the Wisconsin state income tax and increasing state sales tax will overwhelmingly favor Wisconsin’s wealthiest residents. This does not help small businesses. It helps big businesses,” Patrick Depula, owner of the Dark Horse Art Bar and member of the Main Street Alliance leadership team said in a statement.

Tamarine Cornelius, director of the Wisconsin Budget Project, also said eliminating the income tax would help wealthier families more.

“Increasing the sales tax to make up for a cut in income taxes shifts the responsibility for paying taxes away from the rich and powerful, and onto the backs of people with low and moderate incomes,” Cornelius said. “We can’t create broad-based prosperity for Wisconsin by raising taxes on the families who can least afford it.”

The Budget Project’s projections are tied to eliminating both the personal and corporate incomes taxes in the state. The current plan would only eliminate the personal income tax.

Gov. Tony Evers, who would have to sign the idea into law if lawmakers approve it next year, questioned why former Gov. Walker is talking about this now.

“Wasn’t he governor for eight years and had a Republican Legislature that whole time?” Evers said when reporters asked him about the plan. “He could’ve done that himself.”

Walker did float the idea of getting rid of the state’s personal and corporate incomes taxes back in 2013. But those proposals didn’t gain much momentum at the Capitol in Madison.

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