The plan would be funded with a 1% income tax increase on individuals making $1 million or more, which would generate about $145 million, bill sponsor state Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine) said Tuesday. A bill pending in Congress would provide at least $135 million in matching funds, he said.
Leaving aside my general disgust that people in 49 other states are expected to pay for Wisconsin welfare programs (it's a corollary to my disgust that people in 49 other states paid for New York's cash-for-welfare-mothers scheme), a tax on millionaires? Is Madison a Parkers Brothers board game? Are you freaking kidding me?!
Maryland has already tried this, with predictable results:
One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.
I don't know if it's fair to expect a state legislator to be familiar with everything U.S. Supreme Court justices have written--I had to do a search on "laboratories of democracy" to learn the quote was Louis Brandeis*--but surely they should be at least vaguely aware of both the concept of federalism and of national headlines just a few months ago about how their idea failed spectacularly in another state. Especially if we mere migrant workers can keep up...
* "It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."