Tax Day is a day in which many Americans, particularly those who wait until the last moment to file their taxes, are reminded of how much of a bite the federal government and 41 state governments take out of one’s paycheck. Yet for taxpayers in Wisconsin, Tax Day 2022 comes with a silver lining of good news, which is that they’ll get a chance this year to replace their governor, Tony Evers (D). 

Amid the highest inflation in four decades, Governor Evers introduced a budget last year that included one billion dollars in higher taxes. That proposal was dead on arrival thanks to Republican control of the Wisconsin Legislature. Leading Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly have made clear that they intend to pursue further income tax relief in 2023 and beyond, with some in Madison proposing a full phaseout of the state income tax. So long as Evers is governor, he will be an impediment to such tax relief efforts. 

The first bit of good news for Badger State residents this Tax Day is that they will have an opportunity to remove that impediment to further tax relief this November. The second bit of good news is that two candidates running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination — former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch & businessman Kevin Nicholson — have both signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to oppose and veto any and all efforts to raise taxes. 

“Wisconsin taxpayers now have the peace of mind that no matter which of these two wins the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the August primary, the nominee going up against Evers is sure to be someone who has ruled out tax hikes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Wisconsin legislators should be commended for enacting $22 billion in tax relief over the past decade. Yet the state’s income tax rate is still uncompetitive. So long as Tony Evers remains governor, it will be difficult to reform Wisconsin’s uncompetitive and overly burdensome income tax. Since both Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Wisconsin voters can head to the polls assured that so long as Evers is defeated this November, not only will the main impediment to further income tax relief be removed, but that Wisconsin will once again have a governor who has committed to vetoing any net tax hike that comes to their desk.” 

With the help of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s victory last November, a new record was recently set for the number of incumbent governors who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The previous record, achieved after the 2012 election, was 14 sitting governors who had signed the Pledge. Today, there are 16 sitting governors who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. If either Kleefisch or Nicholson is victorious this November, they will be added to this esteemed list: