MADISON, Wis. — In a closed-to-the-public meeting convened by the Walker administration, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and head of the state Revenue Department, Kleefisch asked of the assembled corporate special interests in the room, “how can we love you more?” On the eve of Governor Walker’s State of the State address, when he is expected to unveil a new tax scheme, all signs point to the answers to Walker’s question coming from the corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Corporate funded ALEC has vociferously promoted an agenda to boost their bottom line at the expense of the rest of us, and Gov. Walker has enthusiastically towed their company line. Now he’s poised to pull off his biggest heist yet, a massive tax shift from the wealthy and corporations onto Wisconsin’s middle class, working families and seniors.”
Over the last several decades, according to research compiled by One Wisconsin Now, increasing percentages of property and income taxes have been shifted to individuals and away from corporations. Across income levels, the percentage of tax revenue coming from top earners has decreased with a corresponding increase from the middle class and working families.
Under Gov. Walker it appears this trend will continue to accelerate. He has recently declared his intentions to slash, or eliminate, individuals income taxes to provide windfall tax breaks to upper income earners while increasing the state sales tax, up to an estimated 15%, a move that will hit the poor and middle class hard.
Poised to promote the latest round of giveaways to the wealthy and corporations is the lavishly financed right-wing communications and research infrastructure. The One Wisconsin Now report, “S is for Shill”, released in fall 2013, provides a detailed expose of the mechanics and funding of the right-wing’s apparatus including ALEC, the State Policy Network and Wisconsin based organizations like the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and MacIver Institute.
“Gov. Walker has turned Wisconsin into a right-wing laboratory of privatization, massive tax giveaways for the wealthy, the largest ever cuts to public educations in state history and the stripping of worker, consumer and voter rights. While ALEC and the corporate special interests reap windfalls, the result for the rest of us is worst in the Midwest job growth,” concluded Ross.