Tax-Shy Randy Hopper’s $250 Million Yearly Capital Gains Giveaway

Tax Avoiding Senator Proposes Deficit-Growing Tax Break Primarily Helping Wealthy

MADISON, Wis. — Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac), who paid net state income taxes once in ten years, has proposed an end to capital gains taxes, which primarily benefit the wealthy and would cost $250 million a year, according to the non-partisan Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

“How much less than zero does Randy Hopper think he should have to pay in taxes,” said Ross. “Ending capital gains taxes overwhelmingly benefits rich people, doesn’t create private sector jobs and would create an annual $250 million hole in the state budget.”

Hopper introduced his plan this week to repeal recent changes to the state’s generous capital gains loophole and end capital gains taxes all together in three years. The first part of this plan would add $243 million to the current $3.3 billion budget deficit for the next two years and full implementation of the Hopper capital gains scheme would top $250 million every year. [Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Act 28, 8/09]

Hopper’s lack of tax payment was raised in an article in the Fond du Lac Reporter in October 2008. The article noted that Hopper not only paid state income tax just once in ten years, but also had three businesses, which also paid no net state income tax. According to the article, “In 2006 he paid $22,752 in state tax due, he said, to capital gains from the sale of one of the two radio stations he owns in Sheboygan.”

“Republicans promised that job creation and reducing the $3.3 billion deficit would be their top priorities, but have instead tried to reward their corporate campaign donors with special interest tax breaks and deregulation,” said Ross. “Randy Hopper has taken it a step further and decided his favorite special interest is his own bank account. Randy Hopper owes Wisconsin an answer to this question: ‘What will you cut to pay for this tax break for wealthy people like yourself?’”

Capital gains tax breaks are given disproportionately to those at the top of the income ladder. According to the data from the state fiscal bureau, before the change to the Wisconsin capital gains tax in 2009, the highest two percent of Wisconsin tax filers earning over $200,000 got over half the benefit. By contrast, the bottom two-thirds of income earners, those under $50,000, got just 15 percent. [Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, 6/22/09]

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