Wisconsin residents with annual incomes above $1 million are barely more than one-tenth of one percent of all taxpayers but pay more than eight percent of all tax collections.
Those with incomes between half a million and one million dollars represent one-quarter of one percent of filers and pay five percent of all taxes collected. Those who earn between $200,000 and half a million are just over 1.4 percent of filers and pay 11.4 percent of all taxes.
Fifty-eight percent of revenue comes from the 30 percent of filers in the middle, with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000. That’s spread across more than 850,000 filers. The total tax contribution shrinks as income levels go down.
Even taking into account the flexibility of wealthy taxpayers to defer income and minimize tax exposure, they contribute a share of revenue far beyond their presence in the population. That isn’t necessarily wrong but it puts a hole in the claim that high-income individuals are somehow responsible for the state’s budget woes. Confiscate every penny from Wisconsin’s 3,000-or-so millionaires and you probably still couldn't plug the hole left by Doyle and the Democrats.
The ideal tax code would encourage productive activity to grow an economy that generates both individual prosperity and the revenue to finance necessary government services. When, instead, taxation becomes a means of venting frustration and resentment, bad things happen to everyone—including those doing the venting.