Letter to WSJ Editor, re: “Tax Reform: States”

I just emailed the following Letter to the Editor to the Wall Street Journal in response to its cited editorial:

As a 40-year Wisconsin and taxpayer who has never been a member of a union, I was offended by the presumptuousness of your editorial, “Tax Reform Take 2:  The States” (Dec. 21), in which you dismiss certain high tax states as “liberal political cultures heavily influenced by public unions,” suggest that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker “should propose an across-the-board tax rate cut,” and conclude by urging high-tax-rate states to cut their rates in order to be “more taxpayer friendly.”

You should mind your own business.   Wisconsin has traditionally placed greater emphasis than some other states in areas such as educational excellence, quality state services, a solid support network for the disadvantaged, and safeguarding our natural resources.  Efficiency is vital, but – as with most things in life – you get what you pay for.  It is not Wisconsin’s place to question other states’ services and taxing approaches; it is not your place to question how we in Wisconsin – or citizens of other states that tax at relatively higher rates – choose to conduct ours.  The majority of people in these states would not consider the degradation of the quality and availability of their state services likely to result from a reduction in their states’ income tax revenues to be “taxpayer friendly”; these states balance their services/taxing approaches as they do because the majority of their citizens believe in them.  High-earner residents have always been able to leave these states if they wished; it’s pure speculation that they will now.  Our federal system is designed to enable the citizens of different states, across a wide swath of issues, to express their cultures and values in their own ways.  Does the Journal only stand for federalism when it doesn’t like an approach that the federal government is taking on an issue?


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