Monday, March 4, 2019

Tony's taxes and tax cuts. By the numbers

An astute reader wanted me to go over the tax proposals Governor Evers wanted in the State Budget. I'm going to go off the totals given in the Budget in Brief (Table 9 on Page 98 if you want to check it out).

End M&A Giveaway to large manufacturers $556.6 million

End capital gains tax cut for richer Wisconsinites $505.1 million

Make state tax code match changes in GOP Tax Scam $362.4 million

Enforce sales tax laws on 3rd Party Internet sales $93.9 million

Remove tax cut for broadcasters $29.5 million

Make tax on e-cigs and small cigars match other tobacco $41.5 million

Remove tax cut for private school tuition $24.3 million

Enhanced DOR Tax Audits $43.5 million

Other minor changes $23.1 million


Tax cuts in Evers budget
Income tax cut for Wisconsinites making less than $80K single/$150K married
$833.5 million

EITC Expansion $53.1 million

Homestead Tax Credit expansion $38.9 million

Child Care Credit $9.9 million

Medical insurance credit for self-employed $9.5 million

Other minor tax cuts $6.4 million



You can clearly see the change in emphasis from Walker and WisGOP, who gave their tax cuts to the rich and corporate, and took services and lower-income tax cuts like Homestead and EITC away. The second part of this added revenue is that it pays for items such as expanded services on Medicaid (beyond the savings of Medicaid expansion), restoring funding to K-12 and special education, and increases in shared aids for local communitie and the UW System.

I generally like the concepts of ending the free ride that the rich and corporate have had for 8 years in this state, but I do have a couple of concerns over how Evers plans to do that.

1. The amount of money involved is so high that it makes for an easy GOP target "Oh, look at Evers raising taxes by nearly $1 billion. Argle bargle wubba wubba." Even though most Wisconsinites won't see a tax increase due to how these moves are targeted (and quite a few will see a tax break with better services), it gives a talking point that is easy fort he average low-info voter to remember and be scared about.

Evers probably should have backed off on a couple of these things, or waited a year for the increase to take effect (like the capital gains thing). But it seems like they got stuck in trying to get every initiative in there while coming up with the money to make things balance out (the cushion to end the year

2. What are these "federalized" changes to the state tax code. It's hard to find an explanation in the budget documents, but I have worries that it means Wisconsinites won't be able to use itemized write offs like mortgage interest and charitable donations because the GOP Tax Scam has pushed many people into taking the standard deduction, with no benefit from those itemizations. I'll wait till the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to describe just what would cause this sizable increase in revenue, and I fear this could become an unforced error by Evers once that's revealed.

That being said, this budget is miles better than the trickle-down garbage Walker and WisGOP gave us, and it is heartening to see someone recognize that the field needs to be leveled. Even youth the gerrymandered GOP Legislature will likely ignore most if not all of this, it lays down a marker, and makes the WisGOPs justify why their regressive policies should be continued while the state continues to lag behind the rest of the country.


  1. Ever's budget needs a team of cheerleaders and energized proponents. To the Republican plant (some of the Republican "legislators" really cannot be distinguished from houseplants, or rather, noxious weeds) who complains about taxes going up, you ask, "How much do you earn?"
    From the answer it will be easy to show how the vast majority of Wisconsinites will NOT see an increase.
    Then show them photos of the Scottholes that the Republican legislative majority "gifted" to Wisconsinites and tell these skeptics that the repairs will be paid for by the welfare recipients Walker and that same GOP legislative majority fawn over: Wisconsin's One-Percenters.

    1. That's right. Even the one higher tax that will hit many Wisconsinite's - an 8 cent increase in the gas tax - could be offset if gas stations actually compete on price and don't pocket the 14 cents a gallon they'd get by removing the minimum markup (questionable, but possible).

      And expanding Medicaid along with EITC and Homestead credits is a big boost to the working poor. But it takes a hard, sustained effort to counter the wall of BS that WISGOP will put up

    2. And part of the solution to all that BS is found at the Federal level: it's called the Fairness Doctrine.