Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Today is Tax Freedom Day in Wisconsin

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Greg Peck
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today we're not just marking Earth Day. In Wisconsin, we're also celebrating Tax Freedom Day. That means as of this day, Badger State residents have collectively earned enough income to pay off all our federal, state and local taxes. That's according to the Tax Foundation, the nation's leading independent tax policy research organization.

Isn't it great to know that all the work you've done so far this year goes to pay Uncle Sam and all of his smaller incarnations? Think you're getting your money's worth for your tax dollars?

The foundation also says national Tax Freedom Day was Monday, three days later than last year. That's due mainly to the continuing economic recovery, which is boosting federal tax revenues collected through corporate, payroll and individual income taxes.

So how does Wisconsin stack up against other states? Well, the foundation says Wisconsin is the 37th state to reach its Tax Freedom Day. The state with the earliest Tax Freedom Day was Louisiana, on March 30. The states with the latest date are New Jersey and Connecticut, both on May 9.

The foundation also reports that Americans will spend more on taxes in 2014 than on food, clothing and housing combined. Depressing thought, isn't it?

Historically, the foundation says, the date of Tax Freedom Day has fluctuated significantly. The latest-ever nationwide date was May 1, 2000, meaning Americans paid 33 percent of their income in taxes. A century earlier, in 1900, Americans paid only 5.9 percent of their income in taxes. That year, Tax Freedom Day came Jan. 22.

One other particular point of note: In a separate new report, the Tax Foundation said Wisconsin had the fifth-highest state-local tax burden in the United States in 2011, the most recent available data. We paid 11 percent of our incomes in local and states taxes that year. In comparison, Wyoming residents paid 6.9 percent, the lowest. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents paid the most, at 11.9 percent.

Just think: Tomorrow and for the rest of the year you can start pocketing your earnings for yourself.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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