Senate

PolitiFact: Ron Johnson’s Push to Cut His, Megadonors’ Taxes “Overwhelmingly Benefited the Wealthiest, Over Small Businesses.”

Today, PolitiFact agreed “[t]he tax carve out (Ron) Johnson spearheaded overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest, over small businesses.”

In April, Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson repeatedly defended the multimillion-dollar tax giveaway he fought to secure for himself and the billionaire megadonors who are continuing to support his 2022 campaign.

Johnson shamelessly withheld his “yes” vote on the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act until a tax break for “pass-through” corporations was added. While Johnson has regularly insisted that the “pass-through” designation was created for small, family owned businesses, this deduction did not result in them reaping most of the benefits.

Instead, PolitiFact reports, according to an April 2021 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the top 1% of Americans by income have received nearly 60% of the savings created by the tax break, with most of that falling to the top 0.1%

According to an April report from WKOW-TV, the billionaires Dick and Liz Uihlein, his biggest backers, “gave Johnson’s campaign fund about $280,000” for his reelection campaign in Q1 2022 — their latest gift to Johnson following the hundreds of millions that he secured for them back in 2017. And the Uihleins and Johnson’s other top megadonor, Diane Hendricks, have recently dumped millions into a super PAC spending heavily to keep Johnson advancing their agenda in the Senate.

However, Johnson’s billionaire campaign supporters aren’t the only winners from the tax break he pushed: Johnson has admitted that he and his company likewise benefited from the changes he lobbied for

While Johnson continues to defend the tax breaks he secured for himself and his biggest political patrons, he still hasn’t said how much he cut his own taxes — a key question that Wisconsinites deserve an answer to ahead of this November’s election.

PolitiFact: Yes, a tax break Ron Johnson pushed for in 2017 has benefited America’s wealthiest more

By: Madeline Heim | June 7, 2022

Key Points:

  • “In a news release, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin honed in on an action Johnson took at the beginning of his second term: He withheld his yes vote on the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act unless the bill included a tax break for companies called ‘pass-throughs’ — those that pass all their income on to the owners or investors. Companies structured this way (often small, family owned businesses) are not subject to corporate income tax. And it worked. Once that tax break was added, Johnson voted yes and the bill passed.”
  • “[M]ost pass-through profits flow to the wealthy owners of a small group of large companies, according to an Aug. 11, 2021 ProPublica analysis of the tax law.”
  • “That small group of the ultra-wealthy — made up of Republicans like Dick and Liz Uihlein, whose shipping supply company Uline is headquartered in Wisconsin, and Democrats like former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg — received close to $25 billion in total tax savings in 2018 as a result of the pass-through tax break benefits, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research study. The rest of the top 10% of Americans by income received a little over $12 billion in total, and everyone else in the country, about $6 billion.”
  • “The Democratic Party of Wisconsin claimed that the pass-through tax break Johnson advocated for in 2017 ‘overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest, over small businesses.’ Multiple analyses show America’s millionaires and billionaires are receiving large chunks of those benefits. We rate their claim True.”

Read the full report here.