Our View: Hard to believe reciprocity deal is deadThe Minnesota and Wisconsin governors who last summer cooed about teaming up and cooperating to benefit citizens in both states couldn’t muster the negotiating know-how to preserve a tax reciprocity deal dating back to 1968.
By: Editorial staff, Hudson Star-Observer
The Minnesota and Wisconsin governors who last summer cooed about teaming up and cooperating to benefit citizens in both states couldn’t muster the negotiating know-how to preserve a tax reciprocity deal dating back to 1968.
Nearly 50,000 Wisconsinites and Minnesotans who live in one state but work in the other will now have to file income tax returns in both states. Reciprocity allowed those workers to file taxes in the state where they lived.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle’s inaction on this broken deal is in stark contrast to the media splash they created while meeting for a boating summit in Hudson to promote the virtues and advantage of two-state cooperation.
Of course both governors have since become lame duckers. They’ve clearly stopped paddling the waters for constituents on either side of the St. Croix.
Doyle says he won’t run for a third term and his focus seems to have swung back to the state’s southeastern nerve center. Surprise, surprise.
Pawlenty has flown Minnesota’s coop to roam the country and pander to ultra-conservative groups and talk-radio audiences as he polishes his 2012 presidential credentials.
And let’s face it, Pawlenty won’t get the Republican nomination for president by cooperating with a neighboring Democratic governor. That’s 20th century politics.
In the 21st century you advance by stirring the pot with rumors of health-care death panels and union secession.
In fact, it was Minnesota that withdrew from the tax reciprocity deal. It wants its money faster to help caulk a multi-billion-dollar budget leak. Wisconsin pays Minnesota tax revenue plus interest because more of its residents work in Minnesota.
That’s how the deal worked through several recessions and governors on both sides for 41 years until … along came Pawlenty and Doyle.
As was pointed out last week by state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, Pawlenty’s greed to grab the money and run will cost his state revenue — in the long run. That’s because Wisconsin paid millions of dollars in interest each year to Minnesota as part of the reciprocity deal.
We can’t vouch for how hard Doyle and his negotiators worked with their Minnesota counterparts on tax reciprocity. But state Rep. Kitty Rhoades, R-Hudson, urges her constituents to phone the Wisconsin governor’s office at (608) 266-1212 and say, “Get back to the table on this one.”
Hear, hear, Kitty! Save this deal. Keep trying. The effort is called give and take. It’s the least these publicly declared cooperating governors can do for Wisconsin and Minnesota constituents.
We also urge constituents to contact their representative state lawmakers Harsdorf, Rhoades and Rep. John Murtha and ask them to do some arm bending in Madison.