How The Koch Brothers Have Rigged The System In Wisconsin And North Carolina To Benefit Them
The Koch brothers are hard at work to limit government as much as possible, resulting in a system that benefits their businesses no matter the potential harm to everyone else — a strategy we have dubbed “Kochonomics.” The Koch network’s immense efforts to buy national elections have been widely documented. Here at CAP Action, we have also exposed the Kochs’ growing plans to shrink local governments by undermining public education, opposing mass transit, and blocking small tax increases to benefit public safety, schoolchildren, and seniors.
Our latest investigation of the Kochs uncovers their influence in two self-described model states, Wisconsin and North Carolina. In both states, the Koch network has funded state leaders who have put in place policies that benefit the wealthy few, including the Koch brothers, regardless of the effect on anyone else. We walk through how Kochonomics has worked in Wisconsin and North Carolina below, and be sure to check out the full report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund as well.
Koch Foot Soldier: Gov. Scott Walker
Koch Business Interests in the State: Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held company in America owned by the Koch brothers, has six wholly owned subsidiaries with at least 17 locations in Wisconsin.
The Price of Influence: Gov. Scott Walker has been one of the top recipients of Koch donations in state politics, receiving $43,000 from the Koch network during his 2010 gubernatorial race. On top of that, Koch-backed advocacy group Americans For Prosperity has strongly supported Walker, spending at least $12.5 million to promote Walker’s conservative policies and electoral campaigns.
Policies Passed Which Benefit The Koch Brothers: The Koch network aggressively pushed for tax cuts that heavily favor millionaires, billionaires, and big corporations, which Gov. Walker pushed through and became law. One of the resulting benefits to the Kochs is that they could see their income tax rate on the manufacturing activities of Koch Industries subsidiaries in Wisconsin drop from 7.65 percent to as low as 0.15 percent.
How These Policies Could Hurt the Middle Class: Under Gov. Walker’s leadership and policies over the last four years, Wisconsin’s working and low-income families have had to pay $170 million more in additional taxes.
State: North Carolina
Koch Foot Soldier: North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis
Koch Business Interests in the State: Koch Industries has two wholly owned subsidiaries in the state of North Carolina with at least eight locations.
The Price of Influence: North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis received $11,000 in donations from Koch Industries from 2010 to 2012, making him second-highest recipient of Koch Industries campaign contributions in the Tar Heel state. In his run for U.S. Senate, Tillis has benefited from almost $12 million in spending from the Koch network.
Policies Passed Which Benefit The Koch Brothers: Americans for Prosperity advocated for—and state lawmakers passed—tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent by an average of more than $10,000 annually. Moreover, state lawmakers eliminated local business taxes, further reducing the taxes of Koch subsidiaries in North Carolina.
How These Policies Could Hurt the Middle Class: The tax policies pushed by the Koch network and passed by lawmakers would force working families earning between $52,000 and $84,000 per year to pay an average of $74 more in taxes.
BOTTOM LINE: While the Koch brothers may claim that their radical ideology helps everyone, the impact of the policies they promoted in Wisconsin and North Carolina are clear. These policies, which were made into law with the help of powerful elected officials collecting Koch contributions, benefit the wealthy—including the Koch’s business interests in the two states—but in most cases hurt working families.
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