MADISON, Wis. – Yesterday, UpNorthNews wrote a crippling story that blew up Ron Johnson to praise a GOP agenda that would raise taxes on 32% of Wisconsin residents, sunset Social Security and Medicare, and increase health insurance spending.
Republicans are pushing for a “fair share” of taxes from low-income workers while defending a tax cut that paid off nicely for billionaire donors.
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson continues to experience setbacks in recent statements expressing support for a Republican plan that would raise taxes on a third of all Wisconsinites and open the door to end Medicare and Social Security services for more than 1 million Wisconsin residents.
“Ron Johnson seems proud of his goal of soaking the middle class to enrich the already affluent,” said Ben Wikler, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. “And that plan seems to reflect the plans of many Republican politicians if they actually get the power.”
In a March interview with the Breitbart News Daily, Johnson was asked about Florida Senator Rick Scott’s 60 pages, 11-point plan for America. Johnson said he agreed with “most of” Scott’s plan and described it as a “positive thing.”
Scott’s plan says, among other things, that “All Americans must pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if it is a small amount.” In other words, this would mean raising taxes on the poorest Wisconsinites – an idea that Wikler and other Democrats are strongly opposed to.
“When Republicans claim that working Wisconsinites do not pay their fair share of taxes, they ignore the fact that people pay into Social Security, they pay Medicare, they pay property taxes, they pay sales taxes,” Wikler said. wealth of taxes paid by ordinary working Wisconsinites. “
In fact, under Wisconsin’s current tax system, the top 20% of employees already pay less as a share of their income than the bottom 80%, according to another analysis by ITEP.
For example, the top 1% of households earning $ 512,600 or more annually pay an average of 7.7% of their income in taxes, according to ITEP. The bottom 80% pay between 10.1% and 10.6% of their household income.
Scott’s plan would also “trigger” all federal legislation in five years, requiring Congress to re-authorize any federal law, including those governing Medicare and Social Security, that could end up with Republicans – like have long sought to undermine the programs – final social security for 1.3 million Wisconsinites and Medicare for 1.2 million citizens. Scott’s proposal could also lead to the end of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid – which both Republicans have also been aggressively opposed to.
Scott has come under sharp criticism for his plan from all sides, including many Republicans. But not Johnson.
“When you start talking about taxation, if you lower the tax for everyone, everyone gets a tax break,” Johnson said. said on Monday. “And people who make more money get more dollars cut, but that’s our tax system.”
Johnson earlier issued a similar defense earlier this month.
“Well, did my business benefit it? Of course,” Johnson said told Republican activists. “Do any of my donor companies? Of course. When you give tax breaks to everyone, everyone benefits. ”
The top 1% in Wisconsin, which averaged $ 1.46 million in 2020, received nearly $ 40,000 in tax breaks because of the Johnson-backed tax breaks. However, those earning an average of $ 55,000 received only $ 790 in tax breaks, while the poorest 40% of Wisconsinites experienced less than $ 400 in tax savings, according to a analysis from the Department of Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).
Darin Von Ruden of the Wisconsin Farmers Union believes such tax disparities are a slap in the face to working-class Wisconsinites, especially at a time when costs are rising.
“With the current economy as it is, many people are struggling just to put food on the table and keep their houses heated,” Von Ruden said. “And the bigger question that I think a lot of people will ask is, ‘Okay, if we’re supposed to pay our fair share, why do the ultra-rich not pay too?’ Right now, the middle class is paying way too much in taxes compared to what the ultra-rich are. ”
Johnson, who was originally opposed to the 2017 tax cut, became a supporter after convincing Republican lawmakers and former President Donald Trump to include a tax cut for companies that do not pay corporation tax but are instead taxed on personal income. their owners.
Why was the specific tax cut so important to Johnson? A 2021 analysis from ProPublica provides a possible answer: two of the three largest recipients of Johnson’s measure were Wisconsinites Dick and Liz Uihlein of Pleasant Prairie-based packaging company Uline and Diane Hendricks of Beloit-based ABC Supply Co. Uihleins and Hendricks together donated approx. $ 20 million to organizations supporting Johnson during his 2016 re-election campaign.
Thanks to Johnson’s efforts, Uihleins and Hendricks saved more than $ 79 million in 2018. ProPublica noted“at that rate, the cut could provide more than half a billion in tax savings for Hendricks and Uihleins over their eight-year lifespan.”
Uihleins has already rewarded Johnson for his efforts and donated $ 280,000 to his campaign fund in the first quarter of 2022, according to a recent campaign funding. Hendricks, meanwhile, donated more than $ 250,000 to the National Republican Senator Committee (NRSC), which is chaired by Rick Scott and uses the money to re-elect Republicans like Johnson.
Johnson, whose finances have doubled since he entered the Senate in 2011 and is estimated worth nearly $ 40 million has not yet said how much he and his company personally saved because of his ‘yes’ vote for the Trump tax cuts in 2017. He has also failed to explain why he only paid only $ 2,105 in state income tax in 2017, despite earning more than $ 450,000 – a fact that rubs Wikler the wrong way.
“Republicans are finding ways to sneak out of paying even the most basic tax liabilities,” Wikler said. “They often pay a small amount – a few thousand dollars in Ron Johnson’s case, in the state income tax, even though he had an income that was greater than the vast majority of Wisconsinites.”
Although he has already earned a decent living in his Senate position, Johnson still seems to support the Rick Scott tax plan – one that would almost certainly leave his wealth untouched but potentially ruin millions of ordinary Wisconsinites.