What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Best Research in Wisconsin: Institute for Wisconsin's Future

The Institute for Wisconsin's Future says this about itself:

The Institute for Wisconsin’s Future (IWF) was established in1994 to help citizens fight for state laws that maximize every individual’s opportunity to achieve educational, economic and personal success.

The Institute for Wisconsin’s Future is a non-profit organization working for:
■ Excellent schools. Schools need adequate funding so all children have qualified teachers, small classes, up-to-date books and technology, safe buildings and necessary resources for children who live in poverty, have disabilities or do not speak English.
■ Quality public services paid for by a tax system that is fair to working families. Wisconsin needs sufficient revenue to preserve a public sector capable of meeting diverse needs. The tax responsibility of this should be shared equitably by all individuals and businesses. IWF plays a vital role in strengthening citizen power with information, training and public action.
■ Accurate information: Reports are available online at: http://www.wisconsinsfuture.org/.
■ Getting the word out: IWF brings the facts to thousands of people each year in communities across the state through presentations, newsletters and the media.
■ Organizing for change: IWF brings citizens and organizations together to press for effective and compassionate policies. Alliances include:
 The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES): Over 150 and growing school districts and organizations united around school funding reform.
 The Alliance to Protect the Public Good: A network of organizations, congregations, labor unions and individuals working to protect public structures and services in local communities and at the state level.

They are all of this, but they do so much more! As a groundbreaking research organization, they have released the results of their excellent work and the results are stunning!

Consider this from their newsletter:
April 15: Wisconsinites pay their state income tax.. and the corporations' too You paid your state income tax. Wouldn't it be nice if corporate Wisconsin did too? Chances are you paid more than Microsoft, McDonald's, Pepsi, Sears, Budget Rent-Car, Kimberly Clark, Boston Market, Frito-Lay, K mart, Victoria's Secret and Stockely-Van Camp. In fact, you paid more than all of them put together. For the last year of information available (2005), they paid zero (0) income tax. Big corporations avoid over $500 million in state income tax every year. They skip taxes by using loopholes that allow them to move their profits to non-tax states. That means our families and small businesses cover the cost of the roads, police, fire protection and other services these mega-corporations rely on. Do you think it's about time to close
the loopholes or should we just keep paying their public service bills?
See Revenue Gap: An analysis of corporate tax avoidance at http://www.wisconsinsfuture.org/

Check out this video and this report from one year ago.. It doesn't get any clearer than this. The legislature and the governor have some work to do. Enough starving the beast and then blaming the service providers (teachers, police and fire, transportation, etc) for not having the resources!
Our corporate environment is basically stealing from us and our children and enough is enough!
A friend of mine calls this the "starving the beast" philosophy of government. Cut all the funding out and make the service providers, the poor and the needy fight for the scraps that are left.
There are a few good citizens, NML, Coca Cola, Kraft Foods even Exxon Mobil all paid some taxes, although as a portion of their income it was minimal.
We can fix this. A few bills in the legislature and property taxes would plummet and corporations would pay their fair share. They do business here, they take our money, they own property in Wisconsin, they employ hundreds of thousands between them all and yet use shady loopholes and lack of accountability to hide their income and avoid our taxes.
Other states have closed those loopholes and these companies do business in those states as well, it's time Wisconsinites take a closer look at WHY there's no money for schools and services and WHY our property and income tax burden is so high on us as individuals instead of falling into the false choices of raise taxes or cut services.
The bottom line is we don't lose companies in Wisconsin because the companies have to pay taxes. We lose companies because the executives can't find a good enough school system for their children, their property taxes are too high and the workforce is so poorly educated.
We could lower taxes and increase and/or fully fund services if the legislature had the will and the mandate from the people to do so...
For all those conservatives out there, really comb this website. Take a serious look at the facts and while you're doing so, and don't tell me all the businesses will leave Wisconsin if we force them to pay the taxes they rightfully owe the state.
I cannot for the life of me believe that WalMart, Exxon Mobil or Kohl's Dept Stores will close their stores in Wisconsin and stop doing business here because they have to pay their taxes... Taxes don't stop them from opening stores in other states because the bottom line is the small percentage they would pay of their income to be good citizens is Wisconsin is well worth the gross profits they make here...
In other words the false notion that WE need to pay the burden of all the services instead of strengthening and enforcing our tax laws is just that... a false notion.
Thanks to IWF for the work they are doing, we now know the facts and the results of conservative "starving the beast" legislation in the 1980's and 1990's.
Now it's time to re-balance the system so everyone pays their fair share.

1 comment:

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