Rep. Kathy Bernier’s Twisted Tax Logic: Giveaways to Millionaires, Sales Tax Hikes for the Middle Class

Backs 100 Percent Local Sales Tax Hike After Voting for Average Tax Break of $120,000 for Wisconsin Millionaire

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MADISON, Wis. — A tax loophole Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) voted to create is projected to give an average break of $120,000 to the millionaire Wisconsinites who claim it. But for the rest of us, Bernier thinks higher taxes are just fine, supporting a 100 percent hike in local option sales taxes in a recent media interview.

“It’s important to pay attention to both what politicians say and what they do,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “When it comes to Kathy Bernier, she says she supports hiking the sales tax that hits the middle class and she votes to instead give a massive break to Wisconsin millionaires.”

In 2011, as part of the state budget, Bernier supported a change to state tax law that now results in $160 million in tax breaks going to just over 1,200 Wisconsinites with incomes over $1 million. The total cost of the tax giveaway, supported by Bernier, could exceed $280 million in 2017, according to reports.

Having voted for the tax giveaways for millionaires in the Assembly, Bernier, in an interview with the Chippewa Herald, backed an increase of 100 percent in the local option sales tax, allowing counties in Wisconsin to increase the sales tax charged on the purchase of goods and services by a full cent. According to the report Bernier, “… favors allowing counties to charge up to one cent sales tax, a boost of the current half-cent tax.”

Bernier’s skewed fiscal priorities have also revealed themselves in her support for historic cuts to the University of Wisconsin System, technical colleges and K-12 public schools. She’s even supported a $30 million tax break for wealthy taxpayers already sending their children to private schools while voting against common sense reforms to help the nearly one million Wisconsin student loan borrowers by allowing them to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage. Bernier actually scored a 0{3dc3145a56b1a82abd649af7a7ec83655f1117606e793d7c8d247dfe86b544ed} rating on the student loan debt voter guide.

Ross concluded, “Kathy Bernier supports tax cuts for millionaires and sales tax hikes for the rest of us. With twisted tax logic like that, it’s easy to see why she also voted for massive cuts to public education and against common sense student loan reform.”

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One Wisconsin Now specializes in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.