Governor Scott Walker's plan to cut income and property taxes in the state cleared a hurdle Tuesday, easily passing the Assembly by a vote of 62-37.
The bill as it stands now would save the average worker $46 on income tax. It would save the average homeowner $131 on a $151,000 home. The cuts are being paid for by a budget surplus and some argue the money could be better spent, but Republicans say the tax cuts will not only help job growth, but also get Wisconsin's economy moving. "Assembly Republicans are going to fulfill our promise to taxpayers," says Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R), "we are going to cut taxes, we're going to put more money in the hands of working people all across the state, which will create more jobs and grow our economy even more."
Two democrats voted in favor of the bill, but the remaining 37 voted NO. Democrats argue it doesn't do enough for the middle class. They also proposed an alternative that would give more money for job training and further reduce property taxes, but that was rejected. Democrats say there are better ways to spend this money, but say Republicans are focused on following the Governor. "What the Speaker wants you to believe is that it's not in your interest to look at any alternatives," says Minority Leader Peter Barca (D), "what he is going to tell you, he probably already did, take out that rubber stamp and just stamp whatever the Governor tells you to do."
The bill now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate where they want to make changes to how much money is put into savings while not significantly altering the tax cuts. The identical plan must pass both chambers before being sent to Gov. Walker for his signature.
The tax cut plan would increase the projected shortfall in the next two year budget by $100 million. However, that assumes flat revenue growth, something Walker said is unrealistic.