The Legislature’s budget committee on Wednesday approved the package of tax provisions on Wednesday during its last day of work writing the $76 billion 2017-19 state budget, which was due on Walker’s desk more than two months ago.
The Joint Finance Committee rejected Walker’s proposal to reduce the lowest income tax rate that would save 70 percent of tax filers an average of $44 this year and rejected Walker’s proposal to include a $20 million boost to the earned income tax credit for the working poor, which would apply to 130,000 families.
The committee also approved a $74 million cut to the tax businesses pay for machinery and tools but won’t include Gov. Scott Walker’s proposals to cut income taxes or to increase a tax credit for the working poor.
The state’s alternative minimum tax, which applies to individuals making between $200,000 and $500,000 annually, also would be eliminated starting in 2019 under the committee’s action — amounting to a $7 million tax cut for those individuals. The tax is meant to ensure filers with large amounts of tax deductions or exclusions pay a minimum amount of income tax.
The package also eliminates the state’s Working Families Credit, which has given a modest tax credit to about 725 individuals making about $9,000 a year. And the committee rejected Walker’s proposal to exempt school supply shoppers from sales taxes during one weekend before the next school year starts.
I think this budget marks the end of the Conservative Revolution in Wisconsin. It is just another budget that nudges here and pinches there. It spends more than the last budget and gives targeted tax breaks to the politically favored. It lacks any significant reforms and fails to transform the state’s government. It is a caretaker budget that’s only purpose appears to be to not anger anyone before the next election.
The Republicans who run Wisconsin have lost their will to lead.