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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Our country’s wealthy continue to pay the most taxes

Taxes


The Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. released a report, using Internal Revenue Service data, showing the amount 
residents of each income group in each state send to Washington each year. Here are some of the numbers for Wisconsin.

Federal Income Taxes paid by Wisconsin by Adjusted Gross Income Percentile 2006 in $millions:

TOTAL:                      $16, 278

TOP 1%:                    $5,753

TOP 2-5%:                 $2,997

TOP 5%:                    $8,750

TOP 6-10%:               $1,697

TOP 10%:                  $10,447

TOP 11-25%:            $2,765

TOP 25%:                  $13,212

TOP 26-50%:            $2,294

TOP 50%:                  $15,506

BOTTOM 50%:          $772


Percentile’s Share of Federal Income Taxes paid by Wisconsin, 2006

TOTAL:                     100% 

TOP 1%:                   35.34%          

TOP 2-5%:                18.41%          

TOP 5%:                    53.75%

TOP 6-10%:              10.43%

TOP 10%:                  64.18%

TOP 11-25%:            16.99%

TOP 25%:                  81.16%
           
TOP 26-50%:            14.09%

TOP 50%:                  95.26%

BOTTOM 50%:          4.74%


Here are the numbers for the United States.

Federal Income Taxes paid by the United States by Adjusted Gross Income Percentile 2006 in $millions:

TOTAL:                      $999,506

TOP 1%:                    $394,066

TOP 2-5%:                 $203,797

TOP 5%:                    $597,863

TOP 6-10%:               $106,327

TOP 10%:                  $704,190

TOP 11-25%:            $156,205

TOP 25%:                  $860,395

TOP 26-50%:            $108,066

TOP 50%:                  $968,461

BOTTOM 50%:          $31,045
  


Percentile’s Share of Federal Income Taxes paid by the United States, 2006

TOTAL:                       100% 

TOP 1%:                    39.43%          

TOP 2-5%:                 20.39%          

TOP 5%:                    59.82%

TOP 6-10%:              10.64%

TOP 10%:                  70.45%

TOP 11-25%:            15.63%

TOP 25%:                  86.08%

TOP 26-50%:            10.81%

TOP 50%:                  96.89%

BOTTOM 50%:          3.11%


The data reveals higher income filers are paying their fair share in taxes. I advise a healthy dose of skepticism anytime you hear an argument that the wealthy should pay more taxes because they don’t pay enough. Here is the new Tax Foundation report. 

Last November, I wrote a blog on taxes entitled, America’s wealthy paying more than their fair share. According to a report at the time by the Tax Foundation in Washington D.C., I wrote, “America’s richest 25 percent of taxpayers paid about 86 percent of all federal income taxes in 2005, despite earning only 67 percent of the nation’s income. The highest-earning 1 percent alone—those earning more than $364,657—paid a staggering 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes, despite earning just 21 percent of the nation’s income. That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal income tax as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns combined.”

The Tax Foundation has released an updated report using Internal Revenue Service data on individual income taxes from calendar year 2006. The results are the same: the wealthy are carrying a very heavy tax load.

The Tax Foundation reports, “This year's numbers show that both the income share earned by the top 1 percent of tax returns and the tax share paid by that top 1 percent have once again reached all-time highs. In 2006, the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 39.9 percent of all federal individual income taxes and earned 22.1 percent of adjusted gross income, both are significantly higher than 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) and paid 36.9 percent of federal individual income taxes.”

Here’s another interesting finding from the report: “The top-earning 25 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $64,702) earned 68.2 percent of the nation's income, but they paid more than four out of every five dollars collected by the federal income tax (86.3 percent). The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $388,806) earned approximately 22.1 percent of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.9 percent of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns.”

You can read the entire report here.
 

The Wall Street Journal also has an editorial.

Congratulations Grady Fitzgerald!

Eagle Scouts

Grady Fitzgerald’s Eagle Scout ceremony was held on Saturday, August 2, 2008.

My office prepared a state citation for Grady Fitzgerald. It reads:

Whereas, Grady J. Fitzgerald is a member of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 152, and through dedication and commitment, attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and

Whereas, Grady J. Fitzgerald’s Eagle Scout project included building a retaining wall for a planter at Old World Wisconsin; and

Whereas, Grady J. Fitzgerald earned 21 merit badges, and served his troop in the leadership positions of Patrol Leader and Junior Assistant Scout Master; and

Whereas, Grady J. Fitzgerald is a 2008 graduate of Mukwonago High School, and was a member of German Club, Orchestra, Swim Team, volunteered with Special Olympics and tutored students in German; and

Whereas, Grady J. Fitzgerald plans to attend the University of Wisconsin, Waukesha; now

Therefore, the members of the Wisconsin State Senate on the motion of Senator Mary Lazich, commend Grady J. Fitzgerald for outstanding dedication and service to scouting.  Grady J. Fitzgerald is further commended for successfully completing the requirements necessary to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honorable rank awarded by the Boy Scouts of America.

REMINDER: I’m at the Wisconsin State Fair

Once again, I am volunteering at the popular New Berlin Lions Club Corn Roast Stand at the Wisconsin State Fair.

It was a pleasure volunteering opening day at the fair Thursday, and assisting the New Berlin Lions Club Corn Roast Stand selling 6,103 ears of corn. The opening day total for 2008 exceeded last year’s opening day tally of 5,542 ears of corn sold.

N
ot only is the New Berlin Lions Club roast corn tasty, it is very good for you. MSN.com reports roast corn on the cob is one of the best theme park foods:

“There’s not much that the cooks can do to spoil this snack. Whether it’s boiled, steamed or grilled, an ear of corn delivers just 201 calories and 1 gram of fat. Of course, dousing it in butter will add significant fat, and loading it with salt will up your sodium intake. ‘But it’s a whole grain, it’s high in fiber and it has a natural sweetness—the combination may make you feel full and satisfied enough to resist other more fattening treats,’ says Gidus.” (Tara Gidus, R.D., spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association)

Read more from MSN.

Deadline to apply for flood assistance extended

News you can use

Every county in Senate District 28 that I represent has been declared a state of disaster by Governor Jim Doyle. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is offering assistance to individuals in our area experiencing flood damage. The deadline to apply for assistance has been extended to September 15, 2008. The deadline had been August 13, 2008.

You can apply for assistance at the FEMA website here. 

The Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel
has more information.

40 billion miles


American motorists may have finally hit the tipping point when it comes to high gas prices affecting their driving habits. The Wall Street Journal says a report out today by the U.S. Transportation Department shows that during the past seven months, Americans have slashed their driving by more than 40 billion miles.

The biggest decline in miles driven came in the North Central part of the country including Wisconsin. During May 2008, motorists in this region drove 57. 2 billion miles, a reduction of 4.5 percent from the previous year.

Dramatically fewer miles driven means less federal gas tax revenue, setting up a debate in Congress about how to address the shortfall. Some of the ideas that could be considered in Washington include more toll roads and mass transit programs, delaying numerous projects, and a potential increase in the federal gas tax, though such a move would be very unpopular given the current price of gas.

Here are more details from the Wall Street Journal.

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