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As I See It

Wisconsin’s richest woman pays no taxes



Quite an accomplishment for Diane Hendricks. The Wisconsin woman has been named America’s richest self-made woman by Forbes Magazine. Hendricks is the head of Beloit-based ABC Supply Company, the roofing supply company which has grown to be the nation’s largest. That is quite an accomplishment, no doubt the result of hard work, a little luck, and the fact that she doesn’t pay taxes. Somehow, this billionaire paid zero state income taxes for three straight years, from 2012 to 2014. This woman, who edged out Oprah Winfrey for the title of the nation’s richest self-made woman, had three straight years of goose eggs on her tax returns. She has a perfectly good explanation. It seems that, according to a spokesman, she didn’t have to pay any taxes because of the way her company was structured. During the years she paid no state income tax, ABC Supply was organized as a C corporation, but it has since become an S corp. That makes sense. How do I sign up for that deal? How do any of the other 99%? How can it be perfectly legal for a woman worth $5 billion to not be required to pay any state income tax? That was a question asked of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a longtime recipient of Hendricks’ political donations. He blamed it on the federal government, saying state income taxes are based on federal returns. Maybe so. But the fact is the tax rules are skewed unfairly if somehow this is legal. Because if you or I suddenly accumulated that kind of wealth, you know the tax man would come knocking on our doors.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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