Wisconsin is losing families—families with children—to states like Texas and Florida, where there is no income tax. Last year 10,000 more Wisconsin families left the state than moved here. This isn’t an anomaly; it’s a trend—a trend with present and future implications for our economy and much more. When those families leave, there’s little likelihood of the parents returning to retire or the children coming back for work or to eventually establish their own families.
When Wisconsin’s best natural resource—its married dad-and-mom families with children—leaves the state in significant numbers, Wisconsin’s present and future are imperiled. This family structure is the only one that gives more than it takes in relationship to government “handouts.”
Our state is currently sitting on a projected $6.6 billion surplus, making significant tax cuts a plausible option. The government is taking more than they need out of people’s paychecks. Thankfully, there is agreement among Wisconsin Republicans that taxes need to be cut; but opinions differ regarding how to do so.
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) wants to implement a flat income tax of 3.5 percent. Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield), however, wants to join the nine states with no income tax. If we want to keep families in Wisconsin, this is the way to go.
“I think that, if we’re going to do this (tax cuts) and we’re going to do something bold and we’re really going to attract workers to the state and bring more families to the state, (we should) go to no income tax like Florida,” said Kapenga.
Making Wisconsin more economically competitive compared to states that are getting our very best is a smart move, and with this “surplus,” now is the time to give this serious consideration. It would also set Wisconsin apart from other states in the Midwest. At a minimum, such a move might change the trend.
Republicans have enough votes to pass tax reform and a new state budget, but they would most likely not be able to garner enough votes to override a veto from Gov. Evers.
Evers has not yet said what his new state budget proposal will look like, but Kapenga believes he will ask for more money yet again.
“He is going to come to the trough,” Kapenga said. “Basically, I think he’s going to try and take taxpayer money and sift it out to the different special interest groups that he wants to take care of.”
Wisconsin families should not be forced to pay the government any more than is absolutely necessary. Hopefully, Republicans can agree on Kapenga’s plan to eliminate the income tax and convince Gov. Evers that this is the best move for Wisconsin. Families thrive when they are able to keep more of their hard-earned money, and when families flourish, so too does our state. As the family, so the state.