The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Archive for November, 2011

The Economy and You #15: Who Pays More in Taxes?

The issue over who pays taxes and who does not continues to be a source of great debate and competing statistics.  The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WTA) recently provided an analysis of data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to try and give an objective view.  WTA looked at federal income taxes filed in 2010 for the 2009 tax year.  These figures were broken down into eight specific income categories from under $15,000 of annual income to over $1 million in income, as well as three broad categories (annual income under $50,000, $50,000 to $200,000, and over $200,000).

The data in the chart below shows that while those filers with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) under $50,000 represented 66.1% of all returns filed and 22.6% of income earned, they only paid 7.0% of the taxes.  For those who may be considered “middle class,” those filers earned over half of the income (51.7%) while paying 42.8% of the federal income taxes.  This group filed 43.7 million returns which made up 31.1% of all returns filed.  The 2.8% of filers who earned more than $200,000 paid 50.2% of the federal income taxes while collecting 25.8% of the adjusted gross income.  From the numbers provided by the IRS and the analysis done by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, it would appear that the “rich” pay more than their share of federal income taxes.

Who Pays the Taxes: % Returns v. Income v. Taxes

Most stories people read regarding who pays the taxes outline that the top income earners pay the majority of federal income taxes but make up the smallest number of tax returns filed.  These stories often do not include the percentage of income earned.  According to the data from the IRS, those filers who earned less than $100,000 in 2009 earned a greater percentage of adjusted gross income compared to the percentage of federal income tax they paid.

It would seem logical that if one specific group paid 50% of the income taxes, they would earn 50% of the income.  The IRS data shows that this is not the case.  Those who earned adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 or more collected 25.8% of the income but paid 50.2% of the taxes.

Some may argue that the higher income filers earned more because of capital gains in stocks and investments. While there is an impact on the performance for stocks and bonds, especially for middle and upper income ranges, adjusted gross income from investment rises and falls with the stock market. Income from salaries and wages is less volatile and does not rise and fall with the stock market.

In addition, if investment income is taxed at a lower marginal rate than salary and wage income, one could infer that those who comprise the higher income ranges would pay a smaller percentage of federal income tax compared to those whose income derived predominantly from salary and wages.

I would recommend Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance as a reference source when looking at state budget and tax issues (as well as other topics).


Treasurer’s Top 5: Juneau County

Here we are again at the beginning of a new week. We’ve been having a lot of success lately returning unclaimed property to its owners. This week we’d like to spotlight the top 5 people in Juneau County who have money/assets that belong to them, in hopes that they’ll claim it! Have you searched for your missing cash? (

Juneau County

Diane Harris – Elroy

Don Weber – Wonewoc

Jax Garage – Mauston

Richard Donovan – Camp Douglas

David Sirotzki – Mauston

 If you or someone you know is on this list, please let them know they need to make a claim with the office. They can also call us at 877-699-9211

La Crosse Tribune Highlights Our Efforts

Last Friday, the La Crosse Tribune ran a story highlighting our efforts to return millions of dollars in unclaimed property. They were interested in the large payout to the La Crosse resident last week – $224,000!

Click here for a link to that story.

Since the article ran in the paper as well as online, we have received 4400 claim requests. 185 of them were “fast track” claims meaning, the person making the claim typed in their social security number and it matched the number we already have in our system. Those people will get their checks in less than 10 days! We are returning $11,000 in fast track claims alone!

As you are gearing up for the holiday gift giving season…or maybe already did your shopping, you might want to check if you have any lost money sitting around!

Click here and start your search now!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The leaves have fallen, temperatures are dropping, and once again, “Black Friday” is upon us. As most of you are aware, Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving, and is both the unofficial kickoff of the holiday shopping season and one of the busiest shopping days of the year. As we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, it’s important that we take the time to appreciate the impact of small businesses on our communities and on our lifestyles.

Tomorrow, November 26, is the 2nd annual “Small Business Saturday“, an effort by American Express to encourage us to shop at small businesses during this critical time of year. In addition to supporting smal businesses with your purchases tomorrow, I’d encourage everyone to read and share the following statistics with their friends and family. It’s important tat we  remember just how much small businesses contribute to our economy.

Small firms:
•    Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
•    Employ half of all private sector employees.
•    Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
•    Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.
•    Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.
•    Hire 43 percent of high tech workers ( scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others).
•    Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
•    Made up 97.5 percent of all identified exporters and produced 31 percent of export value in FY 2008.
•    Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau and Intl. Trade Admin.; Advocacy-funded research by Kathryn Kobe, 2007 ( and CHI Research, 2003 (;U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Are you looking to start a small business? The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation provides many great tools for women and minorities looking to start a small business in Wisconsin. If you’re interested in getting started, check out their calendar of classes- 16 between now and Christmas – that will teach you about topics like business certification, credit score improvement, budgeting, Quickbooks, and many more.

Related Reading:

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation

Hitting the Jackpot in El Dorado

Last evening, El Dorado, Wisconsin took on the golden sheen of its mythical namesake, becoming one of the latest communities to benefit from a loan from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

Secretary of State Doug La Follette and I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a $1.2 million check to the to the Town Supervisors. They will use the money to build a new fire house and municipal building.

Photo 1: Seated l to r:  Town ofEldorado- Supervisor Bill Averbeck, Town Chairman Gary Miller, and Supervisor Dennis Mueller.

Standing:  BCPL Chairman and Secretary of State Doug La Follette and BCPL Commissioner and State Treasurer Kurt Schuller

Photo 2: Seated l to r:  Town of El Dorado- Supervisor Bill Averbeck, Town Chairman Gary Miller, and Supervisor Dennis Mueller.

Standing l to r:  Rep. Richard Spanbauer, Rep. Jeremy Theisfeldt, BCPL Chairman and Secretary of State Doug La Follette, BCPL Commissioner and State Treasurer Kurt Schuller, Sen. Jessica King and BCPL Loan Analyst Richard Sneider.

Related articles:

New Fire House/Municipal Building Thanks to the State

$1.5 Million for Beloit from the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands

State Treasurer Serves Up a Cornucopia of Cash

Claims examiners with the Wisconsin State Treasury returned $492,800 on Monday to thankful Wisconsin residents who found money in the Unclaimed Property Database. 2 of the 98 claims returned made up the majority of the nearly half million dollars.

A woman in the La Crosse area discovered she had a little less than $244,000 and a man in West Allis will be getting a check for nearly $115,000! The other 96 claims ranged from as little as $5.00 to as much as $22,000.

Even if they open up the envelope and it’s a check for just $5.00, I’m sure they are thankful for finding it. We just received another $20 million in unclaimed property this year and there are quite a few folks who would have a joyous holiday season if they claimed their cash and got a check from my office!

Click here to see a spreadsheet

What we return daily, monthly and a portion of our eBay Auction proceeds

detailing the amount of unclaimed property returned by the State Treasurer’s Office since 2003.

Also, our November eBay auction is currently underway. It ends Monday November 28th at noon. Consider jewelry or coins as Christmas gifts this year and make your bids now. Since January of 2011, our monthly auction has turned the contents of safe deposit boxes into more than $200,000 in cash waiting to be claimed.

You can find a link to our eBay page here or if you want to search for any missing money you might have, visit

Treasurer’s Top 5: La Crosse County

La Crosse County has a lot of unclaimed property floating around out there, and these are just the top 5. If you’re reading this you may also have funds owed to you. Please take a minute to visit our website to find out if we can return unclaimed property to you or someone you know. (

La Crosse County

Robert Reale – La Crosse

Louis Robinson – La Crosse

William Panka – La Crosse

Irne Bloedern – La Crosse

Henry Rust – La Crosse


 If you or someone you know is on this list, please let them know they need to make a claim with the office. They can also call us at 877-699-9211