WISTAX breaks silence to promote pro-corporate agenda

A year ago the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance tried to convince the media and its audience that there was no looming budget deficit in Wisconsin and thus no need to close corporate loopholes or raise taxes on the top one percent. And since May of this year’€”after official reports pegged the deficit at $6.6 billion’€”WISTAX has remained silent on their glaring error. But today, just in time for the budget to hit the Senate floor, the conservative-leaning, pro-corporate group finally came out of hiding.Dale Knapp, the long-serving research director for WISTAX, was quoted in the Appleton Post-Crescent asking a rhetorical question to emphasize the size of Wisconsin’s budget deficit:

“Have we reached a tipping point, where we are going into a budget with a structural deficit… so big that it will be really, really hard to get out of it?”

Why the media continues to cite WISTAX as a credible, non-ideological source is beyond me. A year ago, WISTAX was telling the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram that official figures putting the budget at $5.4 billion were overstated and “unreal”. At that time, WISTAX estimated the budget hole to be just $1 billion at its deepest. Then they were silent for a month after new figures put the deficit at $6.6 billion. But now, just as the Senate is about to hit the floor, WISTAX comes out suggesting the deficit is at its “tipping point.” The timing is entirely suspect and it’€™s clear that the group is using its falsely attributed status as non-ideological and non-partisan to promote a pro-corporate economic policy.

If the overwhelming number of contributions to conservative candidates by WISTAX board members wasn’t enough to convince the media of the group’s bias, and WISTAX’s glaring underestimation of the size of the budget deficit wasn’t enough to convince the media of its unreliability, perhaps the suspect timing of Knapp’s recent statement is enough to convince the media of WISTAX’s hidden agenda to promote pro-corporate economic policies.

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Cody currently oversees online communications, web development, and graphic design at One Wisconsin Now & the Institute, having served previously as Deputy Research Director.