I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: lower the taxes, elevate the people. It’s an ideology that many of my conservative colleagues, friends, and neighbors believe in, and one that is tried and true. When people are not weighed down by heavy tax burdens, they rise up and uplift all the aspects that make our great state, well, great.
A new report of state and local taxes from the Wisconsin Policy Forum shows that Wisconsin’s 2019 tax burden – what percentage of our total income goes towards taxes – has dropped once again. Not only has it dropped, it’s reached its lowest point since at least 1970. The fact that we in the legislature have been able to not only prioritize, but advance conservative ideals for the betterment of our state, all while operating under divided government is truly staggering, not to mention humbling.
The most important and promising thing to remember when looking at these numbers is that they are a ratio. A comparison of one number when looked at in conjunction with another. And that ratio shows that it is possible to hold the line on taxes and reject unchecked bureaucratic spending, while also growing an economy and building income for hard-working families. In fact, here in Wisconsin we’re showing that it’s not only possible, it’s inevitable. When you lower the taxes, you elevate the people.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at our state’s falling tax burden over the last 10 years and understand that conservative leadership, ideals, and follow-through are the root-cause. In that ten-year span, Republicans were able to cut taxes by $13 billion here in Wisconsin, all while investing in our communities and building our rainy day fund. A rainy day fund that, had we adopted Governor Evers’ budget as proposed in 2019, wouldn’t have been as robust to weather the challenges the past year brought.
Republicans stood strong, and even under a liberal governor, we were able to pass a conservative budget that cut income taxes and provided property tax relief to our neighbors. And Wisconsinites are reaping the fruits of that labor.
Wisconsin Republicans’ commitment to lowering property taxes, which make up the bulk of local tax revenues, is a legacy I am happy to claim. According to the most recent data provided by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, Wisconsin taxpayers saw a combined $1.3 billion reduction in their property tax payouts. Yes, billion with a “b”. That’s hard-earned money back in taxpayers’ pockets, and in my opinion, right where it belongs.
As the new legislative session is in full swing, so, too, is the task of forming a state budget that works for Wisconsinites. I have no doubt that when the governor puts out his budget, it will once again be loaded with liberal wish list items that would take Wisconsin backwards. But, as we have always done, Republicans will continue to fight for the conservative values that have put our state in such a solid financial position for tax-payers. Because we know that when we lower our taxes, we elevate our people.
Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) represents the 5th Assembly District and is the Republican Majority Leader in the Wisconsin Assembly.