On Tax Day, group claims Wisconsin billionaires not paying fair share

MADISON, Wis. — As Americans finish filing their taxes on Tax Day 2022, a Wisconsin group is claiming the state’s billionaires are not paying their fair share.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin, along with Americans for Tax Fairness, released a report with new numbers showing the growing net worth of Wisconsin’s eight billionaires amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report uses data from Forbes to compare the state’s billionaires’ net worth on March 18, 2020 and April 5, 2022. It concludes five of the eight — John Menard, Jr.; Diane Hendricks; Herbert Kohler, Jr.; Judy Faulkner; and James Cargill, II — saw their net worth increase by at least 37%. Faulker, the founder and CEO of Verona-based Epic Systems, had the largest net worth increase at 194.2%.

The group’s executive director, Robert Kraig, said the average Wisconsin billionaire’s net worth increased by 50% since 2019 as average Americans struggled to make ends meet.

“We have a system where the people that are doing by far the best — better than everybody else — don’t pay their fair share back and they also don’t even pay a reasonable percentage back,” Kraig said.

Kraig also claimed the average American billionaire pays a tax rate of 8.2% while the tax rate for the average American is 13.3%. That, he said, doesn’t take into account the taxes the average American pays in daily life.

“Congress can close this massive tax loophole through a billionaires income tax, such as proposed recently by President Joe Biden and earlier by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the Senate’s chief tax writer,” the group argued in a news release.