The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Tomah mayor signs no tax pledge

Posted at 9:00 p.m. 3/12/10

“A major reason why people leave Wisconsin is because of the high taxes,” said Jacob Kampen, the first vice chair of the UW-Eau Claire College Republicans.

Kampen, also a student senator on campus, said the state’s tax climate affects business in the state, which eventually determines whether people will stay in Wisconsin or find jobs out of the state.

“And that’s where Wisconsin tends to lose so many of its great graduates,” he said.

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Tomah Mayor Ed Thompson came to UW-Eau Claire Thursday to sign a “taxpayer protection pledge,” which is essentially a vow not to raise taxes in Wisconsin. Thompson is running for the 31st district of the Wisconsin State Senate, a district including part of the Eau Claire area.

Senior Bobby Hamill, chairman of the UW-Eau Claire College Republicans, said tax issues affect students as they graduate and go out looking for jobs.

“We want to make sure we keep (money) available for students to spend how they see fit,” he said.

Approximately 25 people attended the event in the Alumni room of the Davies Center. Grover Norquist – president of Americans for Tax Reform, an anti-tax policy group – was slated to attend but was delayed. Instead, he spoke by way of a speakerphone.

Senior political science major Isaac Orr said signing the no-tax pledge is less important than actually sticking to the pledge.

Orr, who describes himself as a libertarian, said “One of the main reasons Wisconsin is kind of falling behind the curve is because they have such high property taxes, and people move out after they graduate from college.”

Nick Brozek, a recent alumnus of UW-Eau Claire, said it’s too expensive to do business in Wisconsin so alumni relocate elsewhere. He described this shift as an “exodus of revenue.” Brozek said that’s why it’s important for people like Thompson and Norquist to facilitate discussion of tax policy.

Hamill said the tax agreement is important because he feels Wisconsin is taxed too much.

“The budget deficits that we’ve had so far are unsustainable,” he said. “We’re going to have to start cutting back one way or another.”

Mayor Thompson signed the tax pledge in 2001 as a libertarian candidate for governor; he is currently running for the State Senate as a Republican.

“I want to resign it and make it clear that I absolutely refuse to raise taxes,” he said.

He also added that his strongest beliefs are in freedom and liberty.

“One thing you know for sure in every one of our lives, when there’s debt over your head you can’t be free,” he said.

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Tomah mayor signs no tax pledge