Walker proposes tax cuts, keeping school spending freezesGov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposal, introduced late last month, drew hearty praise from local Republican lawmakers and ire from this area’s lone Democratic legislator.
By: Judy Wiff , Pierce County Herald
RIVER FALLS--Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposal, introduced late last month, drew hearty praise from local Republican lawmakers and ire from this area’s lone Democratic legislator.
The proposal--which includes a small income tax cut for the middle class, continuation of a public school spending freeze and tightening of Medicaid income eligibility--was introduced Feb. 20.
It now goes to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, which will hold public hearings, go through the budget issue by issue, take votes, make changes and forward the amended bill to the full legislature with the intent of adopting a final version by the end of June.
“Following the challenging budget and tough decisions we made last session, I am pleased that the current budget outlook provides us with opportunities to invest in our priorities as we work to maintain a sound financial position,” said State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls. “The governor’s budget address puts an emphasis on building on our successes by reducing the tax burden on middle-class families and focusing on economic development, education and transportation.”
State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, sees things differently.
She said an analysis by the Wisconsin Budget Project shows more than half of the tax cut would go to the upper 20 percent of Wisconsinites.
“But there is no evidence a tax cut would spur job growth,” said Vinehout. “State government should instead pay all its bills before sending money back to the taxpayers. In the last budget, $560 million in debt payments were not made.”
She said it appears the proposed budget would increase the structural deficit to $349 million by the end of 2017.
For more please read the March 6 print version of the Herald.