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Proposal Aims to “Shine a Light” on Corporate Tax Leakage

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Thursday, December 20, 2007   

Madison, WI – Corporate tax dollars are trickling out of Wisconsin, and it's a leak that state Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay insists needs to be plugged. The "leak" is made up of a combination of loopholes and tax avoidance by profitable companies, according to a new report from the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future. In a single year, the report says the amounts total $643 million.

So Hansen has unveiled a proposal this week to require large corporations doing business in Wisconsin to disclose their income, as well as the ways in which they avoid state tax liability. As Hansen puts it, the public has a right to know.

"We want to shine a bright light on a tax situation in this state that may or may not be what people want. We want fairness, and we want full disclosure from the really big guys that we think are maybe gaming the situation for their advantage. Hopefully we can try to find some ways, after we find out the information, that we can make it better for the state."

Critics say the proposal is a stealthy way to increase taxes, but Hansen counters that it's about creating a level playing field, where the businesses that play by the rules get a fair shake.

"There are really, really good businesses and small businesses that are paying taxes, but some of the richest of these businesses find ways to find loopholes, because they have the wherewithal, financially."

He says when large corporations avoid paying their fair shares of taxes, Wisconsin residents and small businesses end up paying the difference, taking necessary funding away from education and transportation. Read the report results online, at www.wisconsinsfuture.org.




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