STOP = Stop Taxes On Property
in Wisconsin – with Fair Taxes and The Fair Tax Plan!
by Gary Bahr
Demand The Fair Tax Plan for Wisconsin! It is time to make taxes fair in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Fair Tax Plan cuts property taxes 85% to a local tax on all real estate for local real estate property related services (local police, fire, garbage, weed control, snow plowing); and cuts the income and sales tax rates to 4% by asking everyone to pay our real estate, income and sales taxes. It is only fair!
“People want just taxes more than they want less taxes.” ~ Will Rogers.
“I am not against taxes. I am for fair taxes.” ~ Gary Bahr
THE FAIR TAX PLAN
The problem with government budgeting is that politicians have exempted half the income from the income tax, half the sales and services from the sales tax and half the property from the property tax for their special-interest campaign contributors. Thus, there is not enough revenue to pay for services and we have State budget short falls, deficits, a poor economy, unfair taxes and outrageous property taxes on our homes and farms and and business real estate. All these problems can readily be solved with The Fair Tax Plan.
If everyone paid our income, sales and real estate property taxes in Wisconsin, the real estate property tax could be slashed 85% to a local tax on real estate property related services; and the income and sales tax rates could be 4% each; or if everyone paid each tax, revenue could be doubled or tax rates cut in half.
Unfair tax exemptions, exclusions, loophole and credits hurt everyone who pays taxes. If half the income, sale and real estate in Wisconsin is not taxed, the State denies others equal protection under the law – a violation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
It makes no sense to exempt anyone from a tax. An income tax should apply to all income. The tax rate could be progressive and could fairly offer every taxpayer (rich or poor) a deduction for poverty level income.
A sales tax should apply to all retail sales, goods and services. Those who buy higher priced items pay more tax. With property taxes (and rents) reduced by thousands of dollars, hundreds of dollars in sales taxes are far more affordable.
A real estate tax should apply to real estate owned by everyone, anyone, any organization, any business and non-profits. If the property tax is only a local tax for local real estate related services, it would be affordable and fair to everyone owning real estate in Wisconsin.
In the Fair Tax Plan all property is free of tax except for real estate – which would only be taxed for local municipality real estate related services.
There is an economic solution for Wisconsin. Our lawmakers need to repeal our Wisconsin tax system of exceptions and exemptions to tax and replace it with The Fair Tax Plan.
The Fair Tax Plan shifts the tax to those who have been exempt or excluded from tax. It is not raising taxes, it is collecting taxes from those who have been escaping taxation. Over the years our Wisconsin politicians have shifted income and sales taxes to the local property tax. Under The Fair Tax Plan, the most regressive property tax would be slashed and could even be eliminated.
Each taxpayer needs to contact their State Representative and State Senator and the Governor and ask them to replace our current tax system with fair taxes.
Ask them, “If The Fair Tax Plan would solve our State problems, eliminate short falls, clean up past debts, slash the real property tax 85%, create a construction boom, cut income and sales tax rates, and make our State taxes fair – why don’t our lawmakers do it?
- Do Nothing. This has been the basic policy in Wisconsin for 180 years. And, if we, the people, do nothing this policy will continue. In 1994, Democrats picked up on the idea of taking schools off the property tax due to letters from voters. It won big in the Assembly and lost by one Republican vote as Republicans controlled the Senate 17-16.
- Politicians could provide minimal relief and talk a good line. This has produced minimal results – like $5 per property in 2014. The real estate tax in Wisconsin should be slashed 85% in line wit a lot of Southern and Western States.
- Continue to exempt more and more from a tax until those not exempted pay even a larger portion of taxes.
The Fair Tax Plan is a blueprint for government reform, tax reform, education reform and campaign finance reform for any state that now uses regressive property taxes to fund education, counties and state programs; or for any state that allows special-interest tax exemptions or benefits for the few at the expense of others.
A: MAKES TAXES FAIR
Repeal all 300-plus Wisconsin tax exemption devices, exclusions and credits. No one should pay a tax others do not have to pay on their income, sales or property. No reason justifies exempting or benefiting one citizen, taxpayer, group or class at the expense of another. Every taxpayer should be treated equally under state law (14th Amendment and Bush vs Gore). AT&T exemptions, government loans, real estate exempted from taxes, TIF districts, booths at the new Brewer stadium exempted from sales taxes, lawmakers per diem income exempted, bottled water and clay pigeons exempted from sales tax, and any special interest exemption – all cost other taxpayers.
Per our State Constitution, an exemption to a tax must be “reasonable”. It is reasonable only if it benefits all taxpayers immediately and directly because the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that no state shall make any law that denies any citizen equal protection under the law. An exemption is not “reasonable” if it exempts one taxpayer at the expense of another. If some have to pay a tax, all should – otherwise those paying the tax are harmed under the state law.
Most taxpayers get a few deductions or exemptions like their mortgage interest and property taxes. Who gets the other 300 exemptions in Wisconsin?
If lawmakers do not adopt reform, special-interests will continue to demand more tax exemptions and fewer and fewer of us will be paying the taxes.
For a copy of the 300 plus exemptions CALL 608-266-2772 the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and ask for their “Summary of Wisconsin Tax Exemption Devices” report. It can sometimes be found on the DOR WEBSITE under Reports, Exemptions or currently at https://www.revenue.wi.gov/ra/15sumrpt.pdf. Not all exemptions are calculated – why not? Most exemptions have got to be embarrassing to legislators and the Governor. Look at each exemption and ask does it hurt me if others get this exemption and I don’t?
The only exemption that benefits us all equally and directly is to exempt poverty level income from tax. Or exempt all Property from tax, or all sales. If everyone paid each tax, most current taxpayers would pay about 50% less in taxes.
Lawmakers can repeal all state tax exemption devices, exclusions and credits. Michigan cut their property taxes in half in 1 day in the early 1990’s when a couple school districts threatened to shut down schools with funding based on property taxes. Some exemptions will require Federal changes, or time for contracts to expire – unless those exemption devices were ilegal under the 14th Amendment when granted. Every special-interest will thus contribute to reform. Many will scream if they lose a special benefit, but anyone not willing to pay their share can be escorted over our border.
Billions in special-interest benefits and tax exemption devices are more than enough to pay for reform. If eliminated the revenue could replace the entire property tax and reduce state income and sales tax rates and provide funds for needed services. Slashed property taxes and cut income and sales tax rates will more than offset the few lost tax deductions for most now paying taxes. The $100′s in increased sales taxes will be offset by $1000′s saved in property taxes and reduced rents. Those who had many exemptions will pay more taxes, and they should.
B. CONTINUES PRESENT SERVICES
If everyone pays our taxes, we have the funds to continue present services, expand essential services and cut tax rates.
C. STOPS TAXES ON PROPERTY
When everyone pays each tax, we can slash property taxes in Wisconsin an average of 85% to a local tax for local real estate property related services only – like garbage pick-up, weed control and fire protection.
Real Estate Property taxes hurt the economy as a disincentive for construction of real estate which hurts all related fields. As construction drives our economy it makes no sense to have a high property tax in Wisconsin.
Reducing the real property tax to a local tax for cities, towns and villages would allow most to buy a home and would create a perpetual construction boom that would employ more people throughout the economy.
Real Estate Property taxes hurt farmers and businesses who often pay more in property taxes than they earn in the year. It hurts seniors who often pay a larger percentage of their income to property taxes. It hurts families who cannot qualify for a home loan when property taxes are added into payments.
The state with the highest median real estate taxes is Wisconsin ~ Retirement Living. The state with the highest property taxes on homes is Wisconsin ~ WSJ. This is because for 180 years our incumbent politicians have only promised to slash property taxes.
Under the Fair Tax Plan, municipalities would provide local property related services via a small local property tax. The local tax on a $150,000 home might be $500 to $1200 more or less depending on the municipality. The local tax varies now because of the variance in services between townships, villages and cities.
Churches, Governments, Indians, and tax exempt organizations would pay their fair share to local governments for local real estate related services. No one should have to pay for the local real property service costs for the exempt buildings and land of others.
The State’s property tax is unfair, regressive, out-of-date. It is 2 times the national average and can double every 10 years. It forces one spouse to work to pay outrageous taxes. Homes should be our castles – not our tax prisons. Morally tax bills should not hurt people with no income, low income, or fixed income. Taxes should not rise if a school is built or the needy are bused into the county. Logically the property tax should only fund local real estate related services.
Wisconsin politicians offer “token relief” to get votes. Michigan lawmakers slashed property taxes 50% in 1 day after a couple upstate farm school districts voted down their budgets rather than tax their citizens off their properties. Schools didn’t close because they changed their tax system – voters closed schools to change the tax system! California slashed and froze their property tax years ago. Their problems were a defense-based economy and immigration – not changing how they funded education. Perhaps they do need to spend more on their schools, but that can be done with an income tax and/or sales tax and eliminating exemptions to their taxes.
In many states the property tax is $4 to $5 per $1000. In Wisconsin many seniors now pay 25% and farmers on average pay 40% of their net income to the property tax. In comparison, the average state taxpayer pays a total of about 13% of their income to all state taxes. In 1995 farmers paid 155% of their net income just to the property tax. Their tax payments come from loans until they must sell their farms to pay their loans. Many farmers find it hard to sell their farms, especially in Northern Wisconsin, because the farm cannot produce a living and pay the property taxes.
Taxes shifted to the property tax in the past will now be based on income, ability to pay, and fairness. Those hurt most by the property tax can keep their homes, businesses and farms. State businesses and farmers can compete with other states with the high property tax off their backs. Wisconsin’s high property tax now costs far more farm and small business jobs than gained by all programs to attract new jobs. Many good customers and jobs are now lost by sending seniors and manufacturers south for low property taxes.
The concern that other types of revenue are not as stable as the property tax is unfounded. Governments and schools now operate on income and sales taxes and shared revenues. Schools now get almost two-thirds of their funding from general revenues. Perhaps government could assure budget stability by raising revenue one year and spending it in the next. Or, governments could be allowed to create a reserve fund for hard times.
Personal property should either “all” be taxed (including machinery, stocks, bonds, boats and gold) or should “all” be exempted.
In 2007 property tax collected equaled $9.25 billion. If as legislators have claimed 35% to 50% of real and personal property is exempted or excluded from tax – taxing those properties would create even more income for this Plan. Regardless of how much property is exempt from real or personal property tax, it ought to be taxed if we are to continue these taxes. Even churches, governments and Indians should pay the local government the small local property tax for local services.
D: CREATES AN ECONOMIC BOOM
The billions saved in regressive property taxes can be first put into the economy to create a perpetual construction boom helpful to business, jobs, and State income and sales tax revenues and local property tax income. Many will afford homes with payments absent huge property taxes. Additions to homes, factories and farm buildings will mushroom. Rents will drop 20% as landlords with big property tax savings compete for tenants. More jobs and home ownership will cut social problems.
E. FUNDS COUNTIES FAIRLY
Counties would be financed with their separate income and sales taxes, fees or by state revenue sharing on a per person basis. Counties would deliver social services. Total county and state income and sales tax rates should be 4% and less than present rates.
F. PROVIDES ALL WISCONSIN STUDENTS AN EQUAL EDUCATION
By funding schools with General Revenue on a per student and special needs basis, we make educational opportunity fair all across Wisconsin.
Schools can be financed 100% by general state revenue. Any level of government can operate on an income or sale tax or revenue sharing dollar just as well as by a property tax dollar.
School boards would receive 100% of payments from general state revenue. Local school board control can be retained. Control did not change when general revenues picked up 66% of the costs and need not change with 100% funding.
Schools would be helped. They now hurt from a tax that pits the needs of our kids against angry property owners. Education needs fair funding. Education is our most important asset. Each child in Wisconsin, regardless of where in Wisconsin, deserves an equal education opportunity. A third of the state Supreme Courts have declared the local property tax unconstitutional as a means to fund statewide education as local disparities in total assessments make it impossible for many school districts to adequately fund basic educational needs of district children.
In Wisconsin, in 2008-2009, spending per student varied from $8000 to $19,000 between school districts. The average cost per child was $12,000.
G. REDUCES THE STATE INCOME TAX RATE TO 4%.
When everyone pays the tax we can reduce the state income tax rate to 4% on all income above poverty level income. Farm and business deductions for expense would remain. The only exemption would be poverty level income per person or family. Rates could be progressive for higher incomes and lower for lower incomes. If counties or schools have a separate income tax rate, the total income tax rate for all levels of government should not exceed 4%. INCOME TAXES: $6.7 billion in 2008 and at least $5.9 billion exempted.
H. REDUCES THE STATE SALES TAX RATE TO 4%.
When the state sales tax is applied to all retail sales and services, the rate can be reduced to 4% and the property tax slashed. Those who buy high priced steak or cars pay more. Or, the rate can be left at 5% and more services provided.
Farm feed and fertilizer and manufacturing “raw materials” for making products will remain exempt from a retail sales tax. A sales tax on occasional equipment purchases will remain deductible to farmers and businesses as a business expense and be far less than the annual property tax cost.
SALES TAX: $4.3 billion collected in 2008 and $4.82 billion exempted on sales and services.
I. ELIMINATES GOVERNMENT FOR SALE
When all taxes and all benefits apply equally to all citizens, there is no benefit for a special-interest to lobby for exemptions or special benefits. Eliminating special-interest legislation means special-interests cannot buy tax exemptions devices or other benefits with large campaign donations. It is the best campaign finance reform as it prevents government-for-sale.
J. MAKES GOVERNMENT EFFICIENT
Government can be made more efficient by assigning specific non-duplicating services to local, county, state or federal government; and a tax to pay for each level of government. No duplication in services will save tax dollars or provide more needed services.
Waste occurs when towns, cities, counties, school districts, state and various departments provide police protection, snow removal, social services, nursing care, psychiatric help, etc. By assigning each level of government, agency, and department specific non-duplicating duties and a tax to pay for each level, this Plan will end all duplication and waste in administration and delivery of services and thus further reduce taxes – or more services could be provided by any waste savings.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SHARE THE FAIR TAX PLAN
1. Email friends this website.
2. Write Letters to editors:
Our efforts will succeed if every voter or taxpayer demands actions! Write Letters to Editors of newspapers and magazines – it influences politicians. See sample above at “Letters to Editors”.
3. Write your local and state senators and representatives. Tell them how the property tax hurts you, your kids, parents and grandparents. Call state legislators – 1-800-362-9472. At least leave a message with aides. Don’t take no for an answer. Demand the Fair Tax Plan before the next election.
State Senator: E-mail State Senators, click here.
State Representative: E-mail Assembly members, click here.
Governor: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 608-266-1212 Mail: Governor, 115 East Capitol. Madison, WI 53702.
4. RUN AN AD:
Place an ad in your local newspaper or newsletter. It can be as simple as a 1 inch by two columns, white letters as large as possible with a black background and say:
5. HELP BRING A LAW SUIT
Join friends and relatives in a lawsuit in Federal Court against Wisconsin, claiming special-interest tax exemption devices deny you and other state citizens equal protection under the law per the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Bush vs Gore.
6. ADD this link to your website or Facebook page: stoptaxesonproperty.com or http://stoptaxesonproperty.wordpress.com
The above things to do costs you little, if anything and could save you much.
7. IF YOU DO NOTHING, NOTHING WILL BE DONE.
Gary Bahr, Belleville WI 53508
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