Today on Sunday Insight, the panel on the program hit the message home that the politicians in Madison does not want to listen to, our attitude towards business needs to change or Wisconsin will not compete.
First, I agree wholeheardtley with Tracy Johnson of TempoMilwaukee and Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Jim Ott that our tax structure in Wisconsin needs to change dramatically. The increased business taxes and a uncompetitive income tax structure is the reason why Wisconsin is falling behind. I just took a look at Wisconsin’s income tax witholding rates which our income tax rates are higher than Illinois (3% flat) and Indiana (3.4% flat). Our middle class in Wisconsin gets taxed double than the flat tax states of Illinois and Indiana in which anyone who makes $18,401 to $145, 460 gets taxed 6.5% of their income withheld in Wisconsin.
The other issue that I agree with the panel is that our business taxes are out of control. The corporate combined reporting tax that the Democrats claimed that would keep jobs in Wisconsin is completely backfiring on them as:
- Hard-working families who depend on Patrick Cudhay are uncertain with the recent fire that jobs may leave Cudhay.
- That Briggs and Stratton is moving jobs to Georgia and Alabama which have more business friendly tax structures and a strong right to work environment.
- That Thomas Products moved to Louisiana and basically no one in the Governor’s Office gives a darn.
- That 2,000 good paying, family-supporting jobs may leave Fond du Lac to Oklahoma as legislators in the Sooner State are out-pacing Wisconsin in getting these jobs.
Right now, Wisconsin is #38 in 2009 according to the Tax Foundation for state business tax climate. Our climate is worse than other Midwest states including Indiana (#14) and Missouri (#16). In the same index Minnesota (#41), Iowa (#44), and Ohio (#47) are part of the bottom ten list which have the worst small business climates in America according to the Tax Foundation. Also, with Illinois rating better (#23), this is the real reason Wisconsin has a brain drain and seeing our college graduates go to other states. This is something the Doyle Administration has never addressed.
These statistics show one thing, Wisconsin needs to get serious about being competitive. The only news we keep hearing of jobs coming to Wisconsin is bio-tech firms with the angel-investing tax credit system in Wisconsin. We need an business climate that allows for all industries to invest in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin JOBS NOW Task Force also proved this year that business will not relocate to Wisconsin unless we change our tax environment.
If we want to be competitive we need to change our income tax structure first so people keep more of their hard earned money. We need to scrap the current system and get our bottom rates more competitive with the states of Illinois and Indiana. Also, we need to lower the top tax rate as now the new bracket of 7.75% enacted by Governor Doyle makes it just about high as Minnesota’s rate of 7.85%. The top rate is a factor when small business owners decide where to invest.
Second, we need to repeal combined reporting and we need to lower our business taxes so we are more competitive in the top twenty states in America according to the Tax Foundation. Third, we need to overhaul the Department of Commerce which is a big part of the problem. We need to have only one economic development agency for all of Wisconsin as this is evidenced by the failure of Governor Doyle’s Grow Wisconsin initiative. Also, the panel on Sunday Insight said, we do not spend enough money to attract new businesses to Wisconsin.
Lastly, we need to be a Right to Work state like 22 other states as the unions are becoming now a big impediment to our economic growth. The forced unionisim environment is becoming an impediment to productitivty according research conducted by Americans for Prosperity and National Right Work, and if we do not keep the unions and their coercive actions at bay that we will see more jobs leave Wisconsin.