State Senators Tim Cullen (D-Janesville), Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) on Feb. 14 posed a question: Why would Wisconsin give its natural resources away for free?
The question came in response to a Feb. 13, 2013, letter by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, urging Wisconsin legislators to reject efforts to reform Wisconsin’s metallic mining taxation system. Norquist reminded the Republican legislators that he opposed any new taxes on the mining proceeds and reminded legislators that supporting such a tax would be a violation of his organization’s “No Tax Pledge.”
Cullen released a report from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau showing under Senate Bill 1, a mining company would pay little or no property, corporate income, net proceeds, or other taxes to the state, forcing local taxpayers to pay more. The passed version of SB1 allows the mining company to extract iron and market it without paying a gross tonnage tax (Minnesota has a tonnage tax) on the outbound minerals. The chairmen of the townships where the mine is to be located and the mayor of Mellen oppose SB1/AB1, knowing Gogebic Taconite will have no tax liability.
Senator Scultz, whose district includes the iron-rich Baraboo Range, knows about cleaning up the mess when mining is done the wrong way and opposes the interference in Wisconsin by Grover Norquist.
Schultz, along with Senator Jauch, stated Wisconsin needed a bill that maintained our model environmental protections and is fair to the taxpayer. With SB1, Wisconsin got neither. Our environmental protections are weakened and now Wisconsin taxpayers will foot the bill.
Senator Tiffany admitted the day after SB1 passed that “the Legislature’s intent was to allow adverse (environmental) impacts.” (The Cap Times March 1, 2013.)
Joyce Luedke, Hayward