Lawmakers Have Ideas for Simplifying Wisconsin’s Tax Code


A legislative committee plans to send Gov. Walker a set of recommendations on how to simplify the state tax code. At a hearing Thursday, a panel of tax accountants urged the committee to eliminate state tax credits and exemptions that duplicate one that are already in the federal tax code.

All three of the accountants who testified pointed to dozens of tax credits and deductions and filing rules that the state has piled on top of similar ones already in the federal code. Accountant Richard Kolauff of Vogel Consutling in Brookfield. says the state corporate tax code is also unnecessarily complex when it comes to filing taxes for companies with multiple divisions, “With something so simple give me one form with columns across how much easier could that be?, One piece of paper instead of 25.”

Kolauf also says lowering the tax rate and flattening it for both corporations and individuals could help create more jobs in the state and would make the tax system more fair. But Democratic state Rep. Chris Taylor says she’s not convinced that lowering the tax rate would leave enough revenue for the state to invest in education, “The studies I am looking at say these broad-based tax cuts don’t really work in fact the most recent studies that I’ve looked at say invest in early child hood education that’s the biggest bang for your buck you’re going to get economically.”

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The committee’s chair Republican Robin Vos says there’s a consensus growing on the committee that at least some changes in the tax code can be included in the governor’s next budget, “If not they could be recommendations that potentially the next legislature has an opportunity to look when they go ahead and make changes to whatever the governor proposes.”

Gov. Walker has already said he is considering a package of tax cuts in the budget he’ll send to the legislature in February.