By Karen Stokes
Tuesday during a WisDems event, Geoff Hoen, a Milwaukee small business owner and State Senator LaTonya Johnson blasted Johnson for focusing on enriching himself at the expense of small businesses and taxpayers.
Hoen and State Senator Johnson responded to a new report which stated that for years a trust associated with Ron Johnson and his business did not pay their fair share in state income taxes.
“Ron Johnson’s family trust and business have completely gamed the system, skipping out in paying millions of dollars in taxes…This means less money for our community – schools, hospitals, police and fire services…While we pay our fair share, Johnson is allowed to take advantage of tax loopholes that just let the ultra rich pile onto their fortune,” Hoen said.
State Senator LaTonya Johnson said, “Why do so many of our small mom and pop stores find themselves struggling when so many of our large businesses find themselves thriving? The answer lies in politicians like Ron Johnson. In 2016 after taking advantage of the Agricultural and Manufacturing Tax Credit, Ron Johnson paid nothing in state income taxes on the family trust. It seems Ron Johnson can take advantage of tax loopholes written by ultra wealthy politicians for ultra wealthy businesses and donors.”
Wisconsin voters believe the economy is a top issue ahead of what will be a tightly-contested statewide election between Johnson and his Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, the two parties see the vanished tax liabilities differently.
Democrats argue a state tax credit allowing the trust fund, which Johnson set up for his three children, to save millions of dollars in recent years is another sign of a system skewed toward the wealthy. Republicans maintain the Johnson family’s tax savings are irrelevant to the midterm campaign because he did nothing illegal.
Democratic strategist Joe Zepecki said the tax applying to Johnson’s family trust fund symbolizes a broken tax structure. “We know that the system has been rigged by people like Senator Johnson for way too long.”
Johnson’s business paid $0 in taxes since 2013, his multimillion dollar family trust started paying nothing in 2016 – and Johnson has complained about only doubling his multi-million dollar fortune.
“Johnson doesn’t care about small businesses because he’s voted against countless bills that would direct the funds to help owners to survive,” said Hoen. “ I look forward to voting him out of office in the next few weeks. It’s finally time to retire him and elect a senator that will actually represent and fight for us.”