Happy (?) Tax Freedom Day

We interrupt your weekend to announce that today is Wisconsin’s Tax Freedom Day.

The annual project of the Tax Foundation celebrates, if you want to call it that, the day in which we are done paying federal, state and local taxes for the year. It’s based on the assumption that since Jan. 1 all of your salary has been going to taxes; Tax Freedom Day is a state’s total tax payments converted into a calendar.

(Another way to look at it is at your work day: If you start work at 8 a.m., you are working to pay taxes until 10:26 a.m. Ponder that on Monday.)

It will not surprise Wisconsinites (particularly those who had to write a check to the Department of Revenue Tuesday) that Tax Freedom Day is five days later than in 2011. (Which in turn was four days later than in 2010. That is the accomplishment, if you want to call it that, of the 2009–10 Legislature and Gov. James Doyle.) And it really won’t surprise Wisconsinites that Wisconsin has one of the latest Tax Freedom Days in the country, earlier than only Massachusetts and Minnesota (both Sunday), Illinois and Maryland (both Monday), Washington (Tuesday), New Jersey and New York (both May 1), and Connecticut (May 5).

Most of that is the result of the cumulative result of our excessive state and local taxes. (You may note that states like New York and Connecticut, with later Tax Freedom Days, have higher per capita income than Wisconsin, which shows the pernicious cumulative effect of our state’s traditionally bad business climate.) On Tax Day I noted that had taxpayer-protection measures such as spending limits tied to inflation and population growth been in place, state and local taxes would have been $219.7 billion less over the past 30 years, and we wouldn’t be having state budget deficits of $3 billion right now.

What do we get for giving nearly $1 out of every $3 in income to government? (God only asks for 10 percent; why does government get 30.4 percent in Wisconsin?) We get:

If you think it’s bad this year, wait until seven major taxes increase next year. Or wait on the wrong results from the June 5 gubernatorial recall and this November’s election.

Enjoy your weekend, Wisconsinites.

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