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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Friday, November 28, 2008

WPRI: Push Poll Gives Wanted Results

by capper

Today, the WPRI issued a statement indicating that a (push) poll that they took showed that 73% of Wisconsin residents oppose a tax increase on businesses.

In their release, they included a pdf of their results with their question, which was:
Business profits are down throughout Wisconsin and many businesses are reducing their workforce. In this environment should state lawmakers increase the tax on businesses?
Shockingly, most people said no. Of course, anytime anyone asks a question about raising taxes, the answer will be no.

What they don't do is provide all the information a person would need to make a reasoned decision.

Little things, John Michlig of Sprawled Out tells us, like the fact that most businesses don't pay taxes already, and that the tax burden being paid by businesses has been in steady decline. Or the fact that most businesses are already receiving numerous breaks from the government in the forms of TIFs, land grants, interest free loans, etc.

WPRI also fails to mention that as business taxes have been declining, the taxes paid by property tax payers have skyrocketed.

I bet they would receive a whole different answer if they asked the more accurate question of:
Do you think that they should raise the taxes on businesses or on property owners?
Michael Rosen, at Mid Coast Views, has an interesting post up about what economic measures due for each dollar put into it. The chart he has in his post shows that giving big tax breaks to companies and to the wealthy actually cost more than doing something like investing it into repairing the infrastructure. These same tax break cost more than they return to the economy:
Zandi’s analysis also shows what doesn’t work as stimulus: a variety of tax breaks for corporations and wealthy individuals which cost over twice as much as they return to the economy. Yet, these are the very breaks that Congressman Ryan and President Bush support.
I have a suggestion for WPRI's next survey. Maybe they could take a poll about whether people think, in this troubled economic time, that property tax payers and personal income tax payers should have their taxes raised to pay for wealthy CEOs.

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