State of the State: Governor Walker to Propose Tax Cuts

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker will offer more details about his proposed $504 million tax cut in his State of the State address at 7 pm this evening. The speech will be broadcast live on public radio and television, with audio stream and video stream available online.

The governor plans to utilize part of the $912 million budget surplus to lower state income and property taxes. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau announced last week that tax collections are expected to exceed initial projections, allowing for a surplus at the end of the 2013-15 biennium.

Some details have already become public:

  • A property tax cut of about $101 on a $150,000 home, Wisconsin’s median home value
  • An income tax cut of $44 to $58 for each tax filer
  • A change in tax policy that would result in the state no longer withholding more income taxes than actually owed, resulting in about $58 more per month per family

The governor’s plan adds $100 million to the state’s rainy day fund, but raises the structural deficit by about $100 million to $725 million at the end of the biennium.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) indicated broad support of the plan among Assembly Republicans: “Our caucus is united behind the idea of having it go to property tax relief and income tax relief.”

Democrats and Senate Republicans, however, have expressed concern. Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) and Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) both have said the would like to pay down structural deficit while Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) told reporters they would like to fund gaps in Medicaid and W-2 before implementing tax cuts.