Sunday, June 16, 2013

Walker's Tax Relief For the Wealthy Campaign Tour

In his most recent e-newsletter, Scott Walker proudly announced yet another campaign tour of the state, this time promoting his tax cut for the wealthy - y'know, so that they have more to donate to his campaign. His talking points are:
This week, we kicked off the “Tax Relief for Wisconsin” tour at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau and at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater La Crosse and called on members of the Assembly and Senate to support the 2013–15 Biennial Budget’s tax relief package totaling nearly $1 billion.

Everyone in Wisconsin who pays income taxes, will receive a tax rate cut under this package, and the largest rate cuts will be for those making between $15,000 and $50,000 per year. Middle-class families deserve a break, which is why I'm calling on members of the Assembly and Senate to pass a budget providing nearly $1 billion in tax relief for the hardworking taxpayers of our state.
Highlights of the tax package, which passed the Joint Finance Committee last week, include:
  • A total income tax cut of $650 million over two years and total tax cuts in the budget approaching nearly $1 billion.
  • Every Wisconsinite, who pays income taxes, will receive an income tax rate cut.
  • A typical family of four with an income of $80,607 will receive a tax cut of $345 for tax years 2013 and 2014.
  • The largest income tax cut in 14 years.
  • Hardworking Wisconsin families should be able to keep more of the money they earn, so they can build a brighter future of their choosing for their children and grandchildren.
Our tough, but prudent, decisions resulted in a surplus of over half a billion dollars, and I believe the surplus should be returned to taxpayers. We've accomplished a great deal to improve Wisconsin's business climate and providing this relief will continue to make our state more competitive.
I still find his last bullet point a most annoying lie. I know of tens of thousands of public employees who wish they were allowed to keep more of they money they earn. And given the way the state's economy has tanked since the passage of Act 10, I bet there are tens of thousands more private sector employees who wish that too, so that they could have kept their jobs.

And we all already know all about his "improved" business climate, which dropped the state to 49th in the nation.

But like everything else Walker, the tax cut is a bunch of hooey.

The reality of the situation is that the tax cut is designed to help the top earners of the state while the lowest tax brackets literally gets pennies:
Here is how the tax cut would be distributed among income groups:

- The top 5% of earners alone, a group with an average income of $392,000, would receive more than 1/3 of the benefit of the income tax cuts.

- The top 20% of earners, a group with an average income of $183,000, would receive more than 2/3 of the benefit.

- The bottom 60% of earners – those making $60,000 a year or less – would only receive 11% of the benefit of the income tax cuts.

- The 20% of the Wisconsinites with the lowest incomes would receive just two cents out of every $100 in individual income tax cuts under this proposal.
Even worse, the reason that Walker is giving for this giveaway to the wealthy - job creation and economic stimulation - is also so much poppycock:
"The governor has argued that by putting more money in people's hands, the tax cuts will spur economic growth in Wisconsin," said Andrew Reschovsky, a UW-Madison professor of public affairs and applied economics. "There is no evidence that the tax cut will do much to encourage growth and job creation."

Mark Schug, a UW-Milwaukee professor emeritus who now consults in the area of economic education, agreed that such a cut is not likely to be an economic boost.

"I do tend to think that the income tax reduction is not sufficient," Schug said.
Representative Dale Kooyenga, who authored this monstrosity, admits it's top heavy, but falsely claims that there is nothing that could be done to make it fairer to low income families:
Earlier this year, Governor Scott Walker proposed his own income tax cut ,which was slammed for mostly benefiting the wealthy (in large part because an Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) analysis showed that it was tilted that way). The Governor’s proposed income tax rate cuts were expected to cost the state $343 million over two years; Representative Kooyenga’s would cost $760 million in the upcoming budget and $914 million in the 2015 budget.

And it’s not just costly, it’s regressive. As the lawmaker himself concedes, “[i]t is nearly impossible to create a tax reform or tax cut that is not going to disproportionately lower taxes for upper-middle-class and rich taxpayers,” and a new ITEP analysis of Kooyenga’s plan shows his is no different. ITEP ran the numbers for the Wisconsin Budget Project (WBP) the impact of the Kooyenga income tax plan was shown to be even more skewed to the wealthy that Governor Walker’s...
Actually, there are ways to make it more balanced and fairer - as well as more beneficial to the economy. One could start by simply restoring the cuts made to the Earned Income Credit and Homestead Act, which had raised taxes on the poorest of the poor in this current budget.

It should also be noted that this budget will jack up property taxes. Given how many people's property taxes went up when it Walker claimed to cut them, this could be devastating now that they are admitting to raising them.

Furthermore, it is projected by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau that this "tax cut" will be the driving force behind a $677 million drop in state revenue. Rest assured that Walker and his Teapublican allies will used this self-created fiscal crisis to cut more jobs and more services.

Sadly, all of this is the rosy outlook. Because, as Democurmudgeon points out, Kooyegna, the accounting super dud, is counting on pixie dust and unicorn's rainbows for it to be even this "good" (emphasis his):
Thank you Rep. Dale Kooyenga. He's an accounting wiz. Aside from the $92 million in taxes currently not collected, would you bank on that? Forget about the nation’s economic growth projections by the Federal Reserve (negative growth) and the World Bank’s new projection (1.9%). Kooyenga assumes growth will be at 3.3%. “We’re in real trouble” says GOP Sen. Dale Schultz. No kidding.
Is it any wonder that Walker's campaign tour is not open to the public. The vast majority of us who are going to be hurt by the Teapublicans' maleficence would have some things to say to him which wouldn't fit in at all with the image that his campaign is trying to spin.


  1. If the top 5% get MORE than 1/3 of the tax cut AND the top 20% would get MORE than 2/3 of the tax cut, that can't be reality as you state.

    1. Duh - yes it can. The amount the top 20% gets includes the amount that the top 5% gets. Sheesh. Are you Scotty? Finishing college might have helped improve your math skills.

  2. yeah, just took me a little longer to figure it out, yes, very scotty of me. good slam - Thanks. I never went to college though, this was 3rd grade stuff.