MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance President Todd Berry’s upcoming appearance with top state Republican elected officials at a right wing organizations’ anti-fair taxation summit is yet another example of the conservative agenda of the Taxpayers Alliance, according to One Wisconsin Now, a statewide liberal advocacy organization.
“Why does One Wisconsin Now think it’s news a bunch of Republicans are getting together to share Republican economic talking points and invited former Republican budget official Todd Berry?” asked Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “It is news as long as Todd Berry and the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance claim their organization is non-ideological.”
Berry is an announced speaker at the conservative Americans for Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream Summit,” where according to the group’s website “you can join Wisconsin’s foremost free-market voices, top experts on grassroots mobilization, and Wisconsin’s largest gathering of grassroots leaders from across our great state in a massive show of force for our shared belief in lower taxes and more limited government.”
Berry’s fellow speakers include the state’s top Republicans as well as leading conservatives, including: Paul Ryan, JB Van Hollen, Jim Sensenbrenner, Scott Walker, Randy Koschnick, Rose Fernandez, Vicki McKenna, Herman Cain, Fred Kelly Grant – even GOP Madison stage prop “Joe the Plumber.” Berry’s scheduled appearance at the event was announced at: http://www.defendingthedream.org/WI/
Americans for Prosperity was founded in 2003 by the big oil profits of David and Charles Koch, owners of the country’s largest privately-held company in America, Koch Industries. Koch has annual sales of $90 billion, according to the Center on Media and Democracy. In Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity’s conservative agenda is advanced by Executive Director Mark Block, a former GOP Madison campaign strategist.
One Wisconsin Now previously reported that board members of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance have donated over $288,000 to Republicans and conservative candidates since 1991, compared to just $24,500 to Democrats and liberals, also raising serious questions about the organization’s reputation as an objective source for tax policy and research.
“The right wing extremists holding this event wouldn’t be inviting Todd Berry to speak if he wasn’t a reliable voice to support their conservative agenda,” said Ross. “Ditto for the Republican fundraising machine that makes up his board of directors.”
With the state facing a $5.4 billion state budget deficit Berry and the WTA are insisting the budget deficit is billions less – implying much less need to raise revenue from the corporations represented on WTA’s board. Board members on the WTA represent a number of corporations including two, AO Smith and JP Cullen and Sons, who according to the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future paid no corporate state income taxes over a two-year period.