MU Poll: Corporations, wealthy pay too little federal tax

Respondents split on redistributing wealth

Money

Wisconsin voters believe upper-income earners and corporations do not pay their fair share of federal taxes, according to a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday.

Respondents were split though on whether the government should redistribute wealth through heavy taxes on the rich, with 47 percent saying it should and 49 percent saying it should not.

The poll found 62 percent felt upper-income people are paying too little in federal taxes and 63 percent felt the same for corporations.

The poll was based on a survey of 1,000 Wisconsin registered voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

A quarter of respondents said upper-income earners were paying their fair share and eight percent said they pay too much. For corporations, 18 percent said they pay their fair share and 11 percent said they pay too much

The results were more evenly divided for middle- and low-income people. Just 4 percent said middle-income individuals were paying too little, while 16 percent said low-income people weren’t paying enough.

Almost half of respondents, 47 percent, felt middle-income people pay too much in federal taxes and the same percentage said the group pays its fair share.

For low-income individuals, 39 percent of respondents felt the group pays its fair share and 39 percent said those individuals pay too much.

More than half of respondents, 51 percent, said the federal taxes they pay are about right, while 43 percent felt taxes are too high. Just 2 percent said taxes are too low.

The responses largely broke down on predictable partisan lines, with 57 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning independents feeling their taxes are too high versus 29 percent feeling that way among Democrats and Democratic leaning independents.

Seven percent of Democrats said middle and low-income people pay too little in taxes, compared with 28 percent of Republicans feeling low-income individuals don’t pay enough and 1 percent feeling middle-income people pay too little.

A large majority of Democrats, 84 percent, felt upper-income individuals and corporations pay too little in taxes, while 39 and 40 percent of Republicans felt that way for those groups respectively.

When it comes to redistributing wealth through taxes, 70 percent of Democrats felt the government should do that, compared to 23 percent of Republicans. The responses were essentially flipped for those thinking the government shouldn’t redistribute wealth.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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