I apologize for interrupting your weekend with the unhappy news that today is Tax Freedom Day in Wisconsin.
Tax Freedom Day is the determination of the Tax Foundation of the day in which we complete paying our federal, state and local taxes, and are working for ourselves the rest of the year.
Except that we’re not, as the Tax Foundation reminds us:
Tax Freedom Day, like almost all tax burden measures, ignores the current year’s deficit. Only taxes that will actually be collected during 2011 count in the tally. In many years the deficit is fairly small as a percentage of total government spending, so Tax Freedom Day gives a good idea of the size of government. Since 2008, however, deficits have been massive by any measure, and as a result, Tax Freedom Day may give the impression that the burden of government is smaller than it is. If the federal government were planning to collect enough in taxes during 2011 to finance all of its spending, it would have to collect about $1.48 trillion more, and Tax Freedom Day would arrive on May 23 instead of April 12—adding an additional 41 days to the nation’s work for government.
For those who claim that the Doyle Administration was accomplishment-free, that is an incorrect assertion. Wisconsin’s 2011 Tax Freedom Day is four days later than in 2010, which means the tax increases Doyle and the Democrats foisted on us in 2009 have had the effect of taking away our money from ourselves to be wasted by government and public employee unions. (Which helps explain the Nov. 2 election results, doesn’t it?)
Wisconsin has also “progressed” from having the 13th highest tax burden among the states to having the fifth highest tax burden (tied with Washington, California and Minnesota) and having the highest tax burden (as does Minnesota) in the Midwest. As pointed out earlier this week and on my previous blog, Wisconsin has the fourth highest state and local taxes in the U.S.
Truth be told, Wisconsinites only have ourselves to blame. Vote for Democrats, whose definition of “fiscal restraint” is sky-high taxes to fund sky-high government spending, and this is the natural result. (In fact, every state ranked in the top five as Wisconsin would be considered a blue state, last November’s election results notwithstanding.)
Changing this, however, requires more than just voting for the right candidates. I noted earlier this week that had Wisconsin had a Taxpayer Bill of Rights-like mechanism to control government spending — say, inflation plus population growth — state and local governments’ tax haul since the late 1970s would have been nearly $270 billion less. We taxpayers need to be protected from our elected officials, government employees (who lobby for bigger government and thus higher spending) and their leftist allies through permanent, nearly impenetrable government spending controls.