Making its rounds at the capitol this year is AB38: a bill devised to exclude from taxable income gains from a Wisconsin business. As the Legislative Reference Bureau understands it, a corporation ‘may exclude the capital gain realized from the sale of any asset held more than one year.’ It estimates the bill would decrease revenue by $13.95 million annually.
Of course, AB38 was introduced by a gaggle of conservative reps including veteran revenue-killers Mike Huebsch, Leah Vukmir, and Mary Williams. Among the senate co-sponsors is none other than Randy Hopper, a business owner who has not paid state income taxes in nine of the last ten years.
According to the Department of Revenue, Hopper only had to pay personal income taxes once in a nine-year period, and in 10 years has not paid income taxes for his two biggest businesses. In 2006 he paid state taxes ‘due to capital gains from the sale of one of the two radio stations he owns.’
I don’t know whether or not AB38 would have prevented the tragedy that was Hopper paying taxes that one time, but as Wisconsin works to close the budget deficit, cutting revenue by allowing corporations to pay less of their fair share is obviously not an answer.