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State address expected to include tax cuts

By Leah Linscheid, llinscheid@wkbt.com
Published On: Jan 22 2014 05:40:24 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 22 2014 07:15:23 PM CST
WISCONSIN (WKBT) -

For the third year in a row, Governor Scott Walker is expected to propose tax cuts in his annual State of the State address Wednesday evening.

As a result of a state budget surplus that's $912 million more than lawmakers expected, Walker is set to introduce $504 million in tax cuts. That includes a plan to lower property taxes by $101 for the average home.

"People will generally be favorably responding to what they hear tonight," said Joe Heim, a political science professor at UW-La Crosse. "Property tax is the most hated tax of all."

According to Heim, Wisconsin often lands in the country's top ten states with the highest property taxes. Democrats also know the cuts are popular.

"I understand that people want tax relief, especially with our property tax," Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse, said.

But they're suggesting other ways to spend the surplus and asking for more relief for the middle class.

"In the past, Republicans have made historic cuts to education and job training," Billings said. "I  would like to restore some of that funding."

Walker will also outline plans to lower the lowest income tax bracket, which could mean savings of about $50 for each filer.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has to approve the proposal before Governor Walker can sign it into law, but that might not be easy. According to Heim, some Republicans think the surplus money should be spent to fix a growing structural deficit instead of going toward tax cuts.

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