By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sen. Mary Lazich: Would you be willing to pay Unce Sam $8,789?
Placeholder Image
The nonpartisan Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. has released the results of its 2009 nationwide survey on attitudes of American taxpayers. The survey was conducted Feb. 18-27 among 2,002 adults (aged 18 or older).

As part of the survey, taxpayers were asked if they would be willing, in order to balance the budget, to pay their share of the federal budget deficit. The last time the Tax Foundation conducted this survey during 2007, the figure was $1,789 per individual tax return. This year, due to the federal bailouts, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), stimulus spending and fiscal year 2009 omnibus spending bills, that figure has increased significantly, 392 percent, to $8,798 per individual tax return.

Care to guess what percentage of American taxpayers admitted they were willing to pay $8,798 in order to help balance the federal budget deficit? Try 6 percent with 81 percent unwilling, and 12 percent unsure.

The Tax Foundation asked those willing to pay $8,798 an additional question: "If you paid that extra $8,798 in additional taxes, how do you believe today's Congress would use it?"

About half, 48 percent said the government would use the money to increase spending and not pay off the deficit, and 17 percent believed the government would use the money to pay off the entire deficit. About one-third, 32 percent thought the government would pay off a portion of the deficit and use the rest of the money to increase spending.

I am not surprised American taxpayers are unwilling to pay a huge chunk to fix the budget boondoggle Washington created and proliferated, and that they lack the confidence that Washington would fix the deficit even with the ability to do so.

Millions of income-tax filers in America do not have federal income tax liability. After credits and deductions are taken, 45.6 million, or one-third of all filers, pay zero federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The Tax Foundation also asked taxpayers if it was fair that so many Americans pay Uncle Sam nothing.

Two-thirds, 66 percent, responded that everyone should pay a minimum amount of tax to help fund the federal government. Only 19 percent believe it is fair that some do not pay any taxes. During 2007, the last time the Tax Foundation conducted its survey, 24 percent thought it was fair that some taxpayers fail to have any tax liability.

The Tax Foundation asked a new question in its 2009 survey about redistribution of wealth. A little over half, 52 percent support a higher tax on higher wage earners, 31 percent oppose. The question posed was very general: "Would you support or oppose the government redistributing wealth by a much higher income tax on high income earners?"

- Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, can be reached at

or (800) 334-1442.