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Flatter, simpler state tax proposed


MADISON (WSAU)   A state lawmaker who’s heading up an effort to simplify Wisconsin’s income tax code says he wants to do it in a “politically palatable” way that avoids a major fight. But it appears that Democrats will challenge it anyway. Assembly Republican Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield says over 50 state income tax credits are hardly ever used. He says many should be eliminated – and the savings should be given to all taxpayers in the form of income tax rate reductions which are even lower than those proposed in Governor Scott Walker’s state budget. Kooyenga, an accountant who’s a new member of the Joint Finance Committee, also says the state’s alternative minimum tax should be eliminated. But Democrats see the alternative tax as a guarantee that the wealthy pay their fair share.

Assembly Democrat Jon Richards says more of whatever tax relief is given should go to the middle class. Richards also says that when Republicans talk about simplifying taxes, it normally benefits people at quote, “the high end.”

Kooyenga says the G-O-P’s final plan would most likely be an amendment to the next budget. The Republican Walker and G-O-P Senate President Mike Ellis both say they’re open to such a change. Assembly Finance co-chair John Nygren asked Kooyenga to start working on the tax simplification effort last month.