February 4, 2014

Working for you!

Blueprint for Prosperity keeps Wisconsin Moving Forward

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.

States like 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 homes.

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.

My Madison Office

2013-2014 BLUE BOOKS are still available! The Wisconsin Blue Book is published in odd years, and details the current members of the legislature, our federal representatives, the governor, the Wisconsin Constitution, courts, and all state agencies, councils and boards. The Blue Book is available online at: 2011-2012 Wisconsin Blue Book Home Page. Please contact my office if you'd like a hard copy at no charge.

I live in Greenville, but have an office at the State Capitol in Madison. If you are in downtown Madison, please feel free to stop by and say hello! Just go to the information desk in the rotunda, and they can direct you on how to find my office, 304 North. At the bottom of each e-news, you'll see my office contact information.

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Rep.Murphy@legis.wisconsin.gov State Capitol Room 304 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708 Toll Free: (888) 534-0056 or (608) 266-7500