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LETTER: Reciprocity or ripoff? You decide

To the Editor:

In the military there's an old saying, if you want to know what's going on, don't ask the general, ask the capitan, or better still, the company clerk.

It may behoove some people to learn who really runs that state or country. Most would say it is the elected leader; this would be an inaccurate assessment. It has always been, and always will be middle management. Whatever law is signed into existence, it's the interpretation by the lowly functionaries which make it work.

Not all that long ago in Wisconsin's history several legislators tried to get a bill passed that forced middle management to use common sense and to not force undue hardship on the tax payer. The last one to try it was a woman legislator, but the bill's never passed.

If your landlord orders you to pay an extra month's rent for no reason or he'll have you evicted, that's called extortion. If your banker puts you in a higher interest loan claiming you're a risk for the sole purpose of you making higher interest payments, that's also called extortion, which is quietly being played out around the country.

Currently, 60,000 Wisconsin tax payers have been over taxed because they work in Minnesota providing a Wind Fall to Wisconsin Revene Department for over $10,000,000 that's also extortion. Especially when you're never going to see that money again and I'm one of them.

What's worse is, the Secretary signed a special withholding agreement sec. 71.64(7) which clearly states and I quote, "Wisconsin withholdings will NOT be required if; the employee is a legal resident of Wisconsin (i.e. domiciled in WI) when the wages are earned in MN, and the same wages earned would be subject to withholding in WI." This can be found at The title of the article is "Special Withholding Arrangement Related to WI MN Income Tax Reciprocity."

An article appeared in last week's New Richmond News that stated a local elected official felt that it was unfair and unfortunate that taxpayers are burdened with this problem. Of course he feels this way, he doesn't have the problem and he's in middle management. And it was Tim Pawlenty's fault for changing something that worked so well for 40 years. Well, if it was working so well, why did Pawlenty change it? Because he was advised to do so by middle management.

If you Google "Wisconsin Taxpayer Advocate Service," you will find at least a dozen listings with the same phone number. Unfortunately, the advocacy group doesn't handle state taxes, only federal. So you go head to head with middle management when you complain. Wouldn't it be nice to have a union for taxpayers?

I was surprised to learn that a lot of tax accountants weren't aware of the special arrangement in reference to reciprocity. Then why would they? If middle management wants to bury something deep enough, they can.

Robert Pike

New Richmond