This is an exciting time for our state. Our unemployment rate is at an historic low, our budgets are balanced, we are paying our bills on time, our schools are thriving and debt is as low as it has been in years. But our tax code, the underlying structure that supports the work of the state, has not kept up with the 21st century; is not working for everyone; and is unfair, unbalanced and burdensome.

This past week we announced a restructure of the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. The committee will be charged with researching our tax code and developing a new, low, fair and simple plan.

With this announcement we begin to establish an ongoing, intentional dialog as to what sound tax policy should look like.  We begin to set our sights on big ideas that move Wisconsin to a new era of economic growth. We have to be willing to do the heavy lifting, be dedicated to the full conversation, be impervious to special interests and focus on the right ways to provide for all Wisconsinites. With a better tax code we can provide for those in need, quality education of our kids, superb infrastructure and peace and security for families.

We are asking, “What would a revenue neutral tax code look like if we created it on purpose?”

Currently in our tax code raisins are tax exempt and yogurt is tax exempt, but yogurt-covered raisins are taxable. And honey is tax exempt and roasted nuts are tax exempt, but honey-roasted nuts are taxable. 

While these anecdotes may seem funny, they are an example of how difficult it is for tax payers to navigate and comply with our tax code and why it costs the taxpayers millions of dollars every year.  The same anomalies permeate our personal and corporate income tax, gas and excise tax, 911 fees and local funding structures. If you have something to tell us about how the tax code hurts you, go to WIWaysandMeans.com.

The Assembly Ways and Means Committee will examine each part of our tax code and present a plan to the legislature that will make our tax code fair, low and easy.

State Rep. John Macco, R-Ledgeview, represents the 88th Assembly District.