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Tax reform roundtable comes to western Wisconsin

A Column of Personal Opinion by State Senator Sheila Harsdorf

Last week Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler visited northwest Wisconsin to discuss state tax policy and its impact on our household budgets and economy. The visit by the Lieutenant Governor and Secretary Chandler was part of a series of twenty roundtables on tax reform that they have held around the state to gather suggestions and comments from taxpayers.

 I was pleased that our region was included in this tour as a roundtable was held last Thursday in Hudson at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls’ Hudson Center. Area residents, small business owners, local elected officials, and economic development professionals took part in this event to share and discuss their experiences with taxes in Wisconsin.

In addition to suggestions on improving our tax climate, a number of attendees at the roundtable raised the importance of controlling spending at all levels of government. Some of the key themes of the roundtable included:

Addressing property taxes to help seniors, working families, and small businesses,

Continue the Legislature’s efforts to reform assistance programs to encourage those seeking to re-enter the workforce,

Reform onerous taxes that are affecting small businesses due to the economic downturn, and

Repealing the personal property tax that hits Main Street businesses particularly hard and is difficult for local governments to administer.

As discussed by Secretary Chandler in his presentation at the roundtable, the State Legislature and Governor passed three significant tax relief measures this session, totaling over $500 million in property tax relief and nearly $750 million in income tax cuts. Overall reductions to the tax burden since 2011 amount to over $1.9 billion in taxpayer savings. While these are positive developments for Wisconsin taxpayers, there is more work to be done to address the state’s tax burden. I look forward to working with my colleagues next session to continue our progress on keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pockets.

Those that were unable to attend the roundtable but would like to submit comments or suggestions to the Lieutenant Governor and Secretary Chandler can do so online at This website also includes information on the tax reform roundtables and Secretary Chandler’s presentation on Wisconsin’s tax structure.

What are your suggestions for reforming Wisconsin’s tax system? Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by visiting my website at or calling my office at 1-800-862-1092 or 608-266-7745.