You undoubtedly know that Wisconsin ranks high among the 50 states in how much taxes its citizens pay. The media have been reporting it for years, and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and their Republican friends have made it an article of faith and a perennial campaign issue, blaming Democrats even when Republican spending was to blame.
So when there’s what qualifies as at least a minor man-bites-dog story — or at least man-growls-at-dog story — on the same topic, you’d expect to read it in the state’s largest newspaper, which has reported many of the WMC-GOP stories for years.
Guess again. We’ll let Bruce Murphy of Milwaukee Magazine take it from here:
On May 27, the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance did a new report showing Wisconsin dropped out of the ranks of the 10 highest-taxed states for the first time in more than 25 years. Indeed, going all the way back to 1963, when the state first adopted a sales tax, Wisconsin has ranked in the top 10 every year except 1980 and 1968.
As recently as 1999, when Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson was near the end of his long tenure, Wisconsin ranked as the third-highest taxed state. Today, Wisconsin has dropped to 11th-highest. That’s quite a change, and it got extensive coverage in the Wisconsin State Journal . The story was picked up by other newspapers statewide.
But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sat on the report for nearly a week and then barely reported it: The disclosure came in the 23rd graph of a story telling us “Property taxes jump 3.8%, most in 3 years.” At the very end of this story telling us taxes are going up, the paper devoted just four paragraphs to the news that the state dropped out of the top 10, and used a quote from Taxpayers Alliance President Todd Berry saying the ranking merely showed that some other states increased their taxes.
Read the rest here.