I was glad to hear about Governor Walker's Blueprint for
Prosperity. In the last several weeks, I have studied the state
budget revenues in detail, and I don't understand how some
people conclude that this plan is a bad idea.
I realize we
have a long way to go before everyone gets the employment
situations that will allow them to move up the economic ladder,
but tax cuts are exactly the prescription for stimulating
continued growth. I am confident that reducing taxes another
$500 million will not reduce state revenue by $500 million.
These tax cuts will spur continued growth that will in turn
bring additional revenue back to the state.
I am very
optimistic about Wisconsin and our growing economy. State tax
collections are up in every major category: income tax, sales
tax, and corporate income taxes. This can only happen with an
economy that's growing and creating opportunities.
Illinois, that keep increasing taxes to cut their deficits,
never seem to raise enough money to get the job done. Higher tax
rates simply don't generate as much revenue as expected. Yet our
state, and others that cut taxes, seem to have more revenue than
expected and can continue to give more tax cuts.
If I thought
this tax plan was just an unsustainable short term measure, I
would have second thoughts. Instead, I believe this growth is
not only sustainable, but that we are likely to have a surplus
again next year at this time.
I've read that the governor's
detractors have categorized these tax cuts as spending, because
the money comes from state government. Not true. This isn't the
state's money, this is our money and we should get it back. It's
not government spending to send money that's not allocated for
budgeted expenses back to taxpayers so it can be spent the way
we believe is best to help our families. I also reject the idea
that these tax cuts are some sort of campaign gimmick. If that
were the governor's intention, why does he want most of the
money to go to a property tax cut that taxpayers won't see until
after the November elections?
The Post Crescent, for example,
believes the surplus is better spent on a sales tax cut, however
Wisconsin's sales tax is already one of the lowest in the
country, while our income and property taxes are among the
highest in the nation. One common thing I hear when I knock on
the doors of our senior citizens is that high property taxes are
a strain that makes it difficult for them to stay in their
When you look at the governor's Blueprint for
Prosperity, it strikes a great balance and is really fair to the
citizens of our state. It cuts the lowest income tax bracket
rate, which is good for low and middle income workers. It cuts
property taxes to help seniors and families. It adds $35 million
to job training to help those who need better opportunities.
Putting $117 million in the state's rainy day fund,
building it to the highest level in history, strengthens the
state's financial health. When you hear that
this contributes to our structural deficit, remember that it's
like transferring money from your checking to your savings
account; you can't lose sight of the fact that Wisconsin is more
solvent, not less, by putting money into that fund. A structural
deficit assumes no growth in revenue.
For the third time this
session, we are talking tax cuts in Wisconsin. In February 2013,
when the biannual budget was introduced, it was criticized for
having a modest structural deficit. That deficit was eliminated
in May 2013 with the revised tax revenue numbers. When we
introduced another round of tax cuts and reforms, we again heard
that you can't cut taxes because of structural deficits. We made
cuts again, and again there was a surplus. Going from the deficits
of the past to the surplus of today improves the outlook for
Wisconsin and it will help us keep moving forward.