Tax bills down, WISTAX clams up

Thanks largely to the Recovery Act, the largest middle class tax cut in the history of the US, the overall tax bill for Americans’ is at its lowest level since 1950. Since the Great Bush Recession of 2007 and 2008, the average tax bill has dropped a whopping 26%.

As tax bills shrunk for the vast majority of Wisconsinites, one voice is conspicuously absent from the debate – the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. If it were really an alliance of “taxpayers,” rather than a cabal of corporate interests who do everything they can to avoid paying their fair share, WISTAX head Todd Berry would be following in George W. Bush’s footsteps and leading the cheers.

Berry usually isn’t one to sit out when tax numbers are the topic. During the state budget debate, WISTAX and Berry diligently pushed conservative talking point criticizing the Governor for raising taxes on the top 2% for the first time in 40 years. Each year, WISTAX pimps for “Tax Freedom Day,” a widely-debunked announcement by the Tax Foundation that supposedly marks the day Americans have earned enough to pay their tax obligations to federal, state and local governments. And WISTAX’s publication “Focus” regularly excoriates the tax climate in Wisconsin, again parroting right wing Wisconsin’s favorite talking point that Wisconsin is a “tax hell.”

WISTAX claims to be “independent” and to be interested in making “voters and taxpayers, student and teachers…more active and informed citizens.” If that were the case, where’s the WISTAX report detailing the achievement of President Obama, Congressional Democrats and liberal leaders at the state level for dramatically lowering the tax bills for the vast majority of Wisconsin taxpayers?

The answer is pretty simple when you look a little closer at who’s behind WISTAX. The WISTAX board of directors is full of Republican Party activists, former Republican elected officials and CEOs and other corporate-aligned parties who aren’t interested in either the well-being of Wisconsin’s working families or appearing to support any legislation or policy advanced by anyone with a ‘D’ after the name. The current board of WISTAX has funneled nearly $358,000 to Republican and conservative candidates, compared to only $28,000 to Democrats or liberal, or 92.8% to 7.2%.

Given that, WISTAX silence on the dramatic drop in taxes paid by regular Americans is hardly surprising The real shocker is that the clearly conservative Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance continues to be labeled as “independent” or non-ideological in the media, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

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