Walker Focuses on Giving Back to Taxpayers

MacIver News Service | January 22, 2014

[Madison, Wisc…] Governor Scott Walker delivered his forth state of the state address on Wednesday, highlighting his plan to return $827 million in surplus tax revenue back to the state’s taxpayers.

“What do you do with a surplus? Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money,” he said.

The tax cut package will reduce property taxes by $406 million and income taxes by $100 million. Property taxes will be reduced by lowering the mill rate for the technical college levy, which will provide equal reductions across the state. Income taxes will be reduced for the lowest tax bracket, from 4.4 percent to 4.0 percent.

“Tonight, I propose a Blueprint for Prosperity to help provide more opportunities for the citizens of Wisconsin. Specifically, I ask you to work with me over the next few weeks to return the vast majority of the new surplus directly to the hard-working taxpayers of Wisconsin,” Walker said.

This would come on the heals of $648 million in income tax relief in the 2013 budget passed last year. Income and property tax changes are expected to save taxpayers nearly $160 this year on average.

When Walker took office in January 2011, the state was facing a $3.6 billion deficit for the upcoming budget and an immediate budget shortfall of $137 million. Walker’s answer was collective bargaining reform that would become known as Act 10. The state and local governments have saved billions of dollars using those tools since then.

“Thankfully, the days of double-digit tax increases, billion-dollar deficits, and major job loss are gone. We replaced them with massive tax cuts, growing budget surpluses, and significant job growth. Wisconsin is going back to work,” Walker said on Wednesday.

Walker also spoke about the importance of manufacturing in workforce development, job opportunities for people with disabilities, transitioning people off of public assistance and into the workforce, and the two-year UW tuition tax freeze included in the current budget.

Check out our individual lawmaker reaction videos here.