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Taxes to take top billing at Hudson meeting

Republican Shannon Zimmerman will lead a tax meeting Feb. 27 in Hudson, where he will be joined by Wisconsin Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler. File photo

Wisconsin's top tax official will meet with residents this month in Hudson during a visit that a local lawmaker hopes will help shape how the state collects money.

Rep. Shannon Zimmerman will hold a tax discussion Feb. 27 at the UW-River Falls Hudson Center, where he'll be joined by Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler.

Zimmerman, a River Falls Republican, said the meeting will serve a dual purpose.

On the one hand, it will offer residents a chance to hear an overview on the issue from the state's leading tax authority in Chandler.

"We don't get him up here often," Zimmerman said.

The other aspect will serve the lawmaker's new mission — revamping Wisconsin's tax code. Zimmerman was tapped last year to lead the Assembly's Ways And Means Subcommittee on Excise Taxes and Fees. The panel is among four subcommittees tasked with reviewing Wisconsin's tax code and drawing up bills in support of changes.

To that end, Zimmerman said he plans to gather feedback and learn "what matters to people when it comes to tax at the meeting.

"I really want to pull people in locally," he said.

The freshman lawmaker said he knows tax reciprocity will be a hot topic. Wisconsin and Minnesota used to have an agreement allowing Minnesotans working here to be taxed as an employee in their home state, while the opposite was true for Wisconsinites working in the Gopher State.

That ended amid an argument over unpaid funds to Minnesota; more Wisconsinites work in Minnesota than Minnesotans who work in the Badger State, which created the difference in tax collection.

Last year, Minnesota lawmakers took steps to circumvent the reciprocity impasse and passed a law that provides a tax credit for Gopher State residents working in Wisconsin.

Zimmerman said while that allays tax concerns for Minnesotans working in the Badger State, the issue hasn't gone away for the thousands of Wisconsinites who commute across the river. And with Minnesota's tax credit now it place, he said there's less motivation in St. Paul to re-engage the reciprocity program.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman said Wisconsinites are left with extra tax filings and extra payments to Minnesota.

"It's a thorn in their side," he said.

Zimmerman said he's drafted a letter he plans to send to Minnesota's tax commissioner in hopes of breaking the reciprocity logjam, but first hopes to gather feedback at the meeting in Hudson.

The meeting, to be moderated by Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau President Blake Fry, will be from 3:30-5 p.m. Feb. 27 in Suite 200B at UWRF's Hudson Center.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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