“People should be paying their fair share,” United States Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) said recently on WISN-AM (1130). “But when you have the top 1% of taxpayers paying 40% of the income tax, I mean, at some point in time, you got to go, ‘Well, that’s got to be pretty close to their fair share, huh?'”
Sure, unless your name is Ron Johnson, a millionaire member of the elite one percenter’s club.
According to tax records obtained by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Daniel Bice that he published on Thursday, Johnson managed to skirt paying his “fair share” of state taxes in Wisconsin in 2017 by a pretty substantial amount.
“To be exact, state records say Johnson, an Oshkosh Republican, paid Wisconsin a total of $2,105 in state income taxes for 2017,” Bice discovered. “For context, a married Wisconsin couple who jointly reported a taxable income of $40,000 — that is, their adjusted gross income minus all deductions and credits — would have had a 2017 state income tax bill of $2,107, two dollars more than what Johnson paid. The state had a graduated tax rate of 4% to 7.65% in 2017.”
Johnson “reported personal income ranging from $276,412 to $2.2 million in 2017 — on top of his Senate salary. That means he had a minimum income of $450,000 in the same year that he paid $2,105 in state income taxes,” wrote Bice, adding that the mysterious 2017 underpayment has yet to be held to account.
“Johnson has averaged paying a little more than $60,000 a year in state income taxes to Wisconsin over the past decade — 30 times what he paid in 2017. So why the big tax break four years ago?” Bice wondered. “A special one-year deduction? Business losses? Large charitable contributions? Or a tax break as a result of former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax bill?”
Johnson’s office will not say.
“The Senator had a smaller tax payment because he had less income to report in 2017,” Johnson’s spokeswoman Vanessa Ambrosini replied when probed on the matter. “The Senator will not be providing media with his tax returns.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.