* Senate President John Cullerton has often pointed to Wisconsin when he talks up his proposal to require publicly traded corporations to disclose their Illinois income tax payments. But at least one Wisconsin taxpayer group doesn’t think much of the idea…
Taxpayer advocates in Wisconsin, which has its own tax-disclosure law, say corporations are generally structured in ways too complicated and too widely scattered to force them to produce a simple, accurate bottom-line figure on the revenue they generate in any given state. Skeptical economists in Illinois agree. […]
Tod Berry, president of the nonpartisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, said the information is likely to provide the public with, at best, an incomplete portrait.
“Based on Wisconsin’s experience with a different law but in the same general vein,” Berry said, “I would say that the value of this is somewhat limited and the resulting information is probably somewhat suspect just because of the reality and dynamics of a business organization.” […]
Berry points out that many corporations consist of a number of separate subsidiaries, many paying their own taxes. And many companies legally conduct at least a portion of their business in states that have no corporate tax, such as Delaware, by incorporating there rather than in the states where they’re actually based.
“Corporate structure makes this a lot more problematic than it may seem at first,” Berry said.
Judging the effectiveness of Illinois’ corporate subsidies is a nice idea, University of Illinois economist Fred Giertz added, “but this isn’t going to allow them (to do that).”
In case you’re wondering, the Wisconsin group doesn’t appear to be one of those knee-jerk “all taxes are horrible” outfits.
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