BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin billionaire who is Gov. Scott Walker's largest campaign donor owed no state taxes in 2010 because of a change in her corporation's structure.
State Department of Revenue records show Diane Hendricks' tax obligation dropped from $2.2 million in 2009 to zero in 2010. Hendricks owns ABC Supply Inc., the nation's largest wholesale distributor of roofing, windows and siding. Records show Hendricks had a seven-figure tax bill in four of the previous five years.
Hendricks is a financial supporter of conservative causes and has given Walker's campaign more than $500,000. ABC Supply's tax director Scott Bianchini tells the Journal Sentinel that the company changed its structure so the profits and the tax obligations stay with the company, not with Hendricks.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Earlier in May, the Journal Sentinel reported that a documentary video showed Walker, after his election, talking to Hendricks, and Mary Willmer-Sheedy, an M&I Bank executive from Janesville. Hendricks asks Walker whether he can make Wisconsin a "completely red state, and work on these unions, and become a right-to-work" state. She was referring to states that have passed laws favored by conservatives that allow workers to not pay union dues or join a union even if they are covered by a union contract.
"Well, we're going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill," Walker said. "The first step is we're going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer. According to a transcript the Journal Sentinel obtained, the governor then immediately said: "So for us the base we've got for that is the fact that we've got -- budgetarily we can't afford not to. If we have collective bargaining agreements in place, there's no way not only the state but local governments can balance things out."