State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers and four other top Democratic candidates want to eliminate the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit, noting 93 percent of the benefit goes to taxpayers who make more than $250,000 a year.While I am sensitive to Vinehout wanting to help farmers in a time when many are going out of business, I think the whole credit should be scrapped. This costly tax cut is taking out more than $300 million a year at this point, as the Wisconsin Budget Project has frequently pointed out.
“Scott Walker and legislative Republicans have rigged Wisconsin’s economy to benefit millionaires, billionaires and big corporations,” Evers said. “Everywhere I go, I continue to hear the same thing from Wisconsin families, ‘What about the rest of us?’”
Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, wants to reduce the manufacturing credit and preserve the credit for farmers. Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, and Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik said they want to restructure the credit and tie it to actual job creation. Soglin was the only candidate who said he wouldn’t make any changes to the credit.
Especialy given that corporations are getting huge tax cuts from the Trump/Ryan Tax Scam from DC, and because the personal property tax is being reduced in 2019 for business equipment and similar items, I think the manufacturers and Big Ag producers in this state will get along just fine. Especially if some of those funds are used to improve the state's workforce, which these businesses can utilize to improve and expand.
Here are a couple other tax items that Dem candidates are salling for.
...Soglin offered the most specific plan for changes to property and income taxes, calling for a major reduction in property taxes through either an income tax deduction or tax credit targeted at residential property owners. He said he would put in place measures to ensure renters derive some benefit from the property tax reduction, and also to limit the benefit for owners of “McMansions.”I get Soglin's idea of transferring the burdens from property taxes to income taxes, and I agree that our system of funding local government needs to be reformed so local governments don't have to rely on the property tax as their main source of revenue. And while I'm all for a higher tax on the rich, it seems a bit odd that Soglin would want to get rid of property tax limits unless he's not willing to allow local governments to impose their own sales taxes or other measures to diversify revenue.
Soglin also would create a new tax rate for the top 3 percent of income earners, or those making $194,000 or more, and use those funds to pay for additional revenue to municipalities to keep property taxes low. He also said he would suspend and possibly eliminate revenue limits, which are the chief way the state has kept a lid on property taxes....
Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin president Mahlon Mitchell is calling for reinstatement of the state forestry tax, saying it “took up a small portion of a homeowner’s property tax bill, but this was crucial revenue for our state forests,” which “are a public good and should be protected for generations to come.”
Mitchell was the only Democrat who suggested completely eliminating the personal property tax, which Walker and Republicans scaled back in the previous budget....
As for Mitchell's idea, I agree that getting rid of the state forestry tax was a stupid Walker stunt that is endangering both the dedicated aids for state forests, but other services, given that we're spending $181 million in General Fund tax dollars to fill in the gaps caused by it. But maybe changing it into a dedicated flat fee or part of General Fund taxes is a better way to do it instead of raising property taxes back up. And giving the WMC crew another tax break in the form of getting rid of the personal property tax is a non-starter with me.
DeFour also discussed some of the Dems' plans for transportation. And most do not take the Scott Walker method of "wish and borrow".
Mitchell and Roys mentioned eliminating the new $100 hybrid and electric vehicle fees, though Roys was the only one who said she was open to a new fee on heavy trucks.I think Kelda Roys' idea of a heavy truck fee is a great idea, and it matches an idea floated by Republican Rep Amy Loudenbeck last year, before it was shot down in budget negotiations. Why not make those who damage the roads the most pay more towards the repairs that need to be done on them?
Transportation funding has been a major debate for the past three budget cycles with Walker increasing borrowing to pay for road projects, while Assembly Republicans have urged upping revenues such as the gas tax. Democrats have made the state’s poor road quality compared with other states a key issue in the campaign.
Former Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairman Matt Flynn, McCabe, Mitchell, Roys and Wachs said they support indexing the gas tax to inflation, while Soglin supports a five-cent increase and indexing to inflation. Vinehout supports a five-cent increase and finding more efficiencies in the Department of Transportation. Gronik and Evers didn’t offer a specific position on a gas tax hike, but said all options are on the table.
I also think gas tax indexing needs to come back, but I'm also partial to the idea of raising the base gas tax by 10 cents from May 15 to September 15, but cutting it by 2 cents for all other months of the year. I can't see why this couldn't be done, and it would put more of the burden on paying roads to the
Regardless, any of these options would raise more revenues to help fill our $1 billion deficit on the highways and roads, and would lessen our reliance on debt, the costs of which keep rising every year during the Age of Fitzwalkerstan. Anything is better than the pothole-filled path we have been on for the last 4 years.
Lastly, DeFour described some sales tax reforms from the candidates.
Soglin suggested allowing the creation of regional transportation authorities with the ability to raise a half-cent sales tax.I am all for the idea of RTAs. They are needed in bigger cities, and are a way to make the many tourists that use city roads and amenities pay some of the costs that they impose on the places they visit. McCabe's got an intriguing idea by making the sales tax broader-based and simpler to adminster, but I'd have to see what the price tag would be with lowering the sales tax by 0.5%. 1/10th of our total sales tax revenue is around $360 million, and a 0.5% decline is 1/10th of our current rate.
McCabe offered a specific plan to lower the sales tax by a half-cent, while also proposing it be applied to a wide range of goods and services, including aircraft parts, health clubs, travel clubs, stowing nonresident aircraft and boats in Wisconsin, public relations, interior design, tax preparation, real estate broker commissions, advertising and beauty services.
So if you hear lazy voters and pundits say "Dems have no ideas on taxing and spending", you might want to point them to that DeFour article from over the weekend, and tell them to get a new set of talking points. There are plenty of ideas, now you gotta choose the candidate that has the best ones, combined with the best chance of winning in November.