WISCONSIN'S TAXING GOVERNOR: Conventional wisdom aside, Walker sticks it to 'em | WisCommunity

WISCONSIN'S TAXING GOVERNOR: Conventional wisdom aside, Walker sticks it to 'em

"Don't tax me, don't tax thee, tax that fellow behind the tree." -- Sen. Russell Long

Those Scott Walker ads carpet-bombing TV viewers in southeastern Wisconsin just took another fact-check punch in the face.

The allegedly nonpartisan but largely conservative-controlled Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WTA) has released its annual income tax guide, and the best spin the organization could put on Walker's budget in terms of tax revenues is that the state is grabbing a bigger chunk of cash from low-income taxpayers.

[img_assist|nid=129354|title=Taxing|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=139|height=139]Walker's 2011-2013 budget reduced the Earned Income Tax Credit for persons with two or more children. It also deleted inflation-based indexing for the Homestead Tax Credit. That's a double knockout for many of the state's lower-income tax filers, who depend on both programs.

So much for Walker's claim in his ominipresent ad that he lowered taxes. Yeah, for rich folks. Thanks to Walker, state tax law now includes a deferral for some capital gains reinvested in qualified Wisconsin businesses and an exemption of health savings accounts. Not to mention his nine-figure gift in tax cuts to flush corporations. And who benefits from all these giveaways? Not people who are struggling along.

Meanwhile, WTA shot down another Walker canard -- that property taxes are going down. The organization estimated that levies statewide are up about 0.3%. Not down. Up. And most serious budget analysts think they'll be up even more next year.

The new hike admittedly is lower than in recent years, but that's mostly because Walker not only decimated state school aids, but also forced school districts to accept new spending caps, resulting in lower public school teacher pay and benefits, along with program cuts that hurt the quality of education.

Cuts to important programs, but not cuts in overall state spending. Despite conventional wisdom that Walker reduced state spending, and despite his draconian cuts, overall spending has gone up. WTA said that under Walker and the Republican legislature, state spending increases will have exceeded national averages for all states, both in 2011 and 2012.

So, to sum up: Tax cuts for corporations and individuals in the upper middle class or higher. Tax hikes for low-income people, and middle-income people who pay property taxes, along with serious service cuts.

Oh, yeah, the Walker scheme is working, Wisconsin -- even if you're not.

We need Robin Hood, and all we've been getting is Robin Vos. Time to make a trade.



January 17, 2012 - 1:14pm