Thursday, February 8, 2018

Walker and Vos determined to handcuff Wisconsin with pre-election tax cut gimmicks

Both Scott Walker and Assembly Speaker Robbin' Vos officially decided today to not give a damn about being “conservative” about what might happen down the road, and went full-force with pre-election tax gimmicks today.

So now the WisGOP attempt to buy votes is coming in the form of a one-time rebate and sales tax holiday that won’t be repeated after Election Day 2018.
The $100 credit per child would apply to all families regardless of income with the checks expected to go out in July. Meanwhile, the one-time sales tax holiday would be the first weekend of August and apply to most purchases of $100 or less.

The revision, part of an agreement with Assembly GOP leaders, would cost $172 million. That includes $122 million for the per-child credit and an estimated $50 million for the sales tax holiday, according to the guv’s office.

The announcement did not include a commitment from Senate Republicans, and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he would meet with his caucus Tuesday to discuss the proposal.

He acknowledged some Senate Republicans had an issue with the sales tax holiday Walker originally included in the 2017-19 budget, but lawmakers nixed. He said that dynamic may have changed now there is a $385 million surplus projected by mid-2019.
Of course, that surplus was based on projections that came out last month, before we saw all of these job losses in the paper industry in Northeast Wisconsin being announced, and before the stock market crashed 2,750 points in less than 2 weeks (including over 1,000 today).

Combine that cost with several other bills going through the Legislature, and any cushion we may have for an economic downturn is GONE.

Child tax rebate $122 million
“Piss in a cup” welfare changes $90 million
Sales tax holiday $50 million
Rural WEDC $50 million
Changes in standards for tax audits $20 million (could be low)
WEDC Talent Retention Campaign $6.8 million
Sparsity aid $6.4 million
Bigger Historic Rehab Credit $3.5 million
DOJ drug trafficking/ family court items $3.35 million


And I’m not even counting the $50 million reinsurance fund that Walker wants to throw on Obamacare to hold down premium increases for 2019, because that bill plans on up to $80 million in cuts savings to Medicaid in other areas. Nor am I considering the talk about a Kimberly-Clark bailout bill, which is estimated at up to $10 million immediately (possibly more in future years). I am also disregarding other nickel-dime items that have been making their way through, which erodes that cushion even further.

Then add in the reality that a reduced carryover balance will reduce what’s available in the next budget, and the fact that we had a sizable structural deficit BEFORE any giveaway of that cushion begins, and the trap is set for awful options awaiting whoever is in power for the 2019-21 cycle.

And that assumes no recessions resulting from overexpansion and deflating asset Bubbles (which is increasingly likely due to the GOP Tax Scam). These shameless one-time tax gimmicks by Walker and WisGOP are the mark of a desperate and careless group of amoral slime that see their hold on power slipping away, and they'll sell off any semblance of a future in order to continue to stay in power and funnel the few available tax dollars to their corporate donors. Don't fall for it, folks.

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