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10 Years of tax cuts: $13 billion and counting

Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 30, 2019

MADISON — Wisconsin taxpayers have seen north of $13 billion in tax relief over the past decade, according to a new state analysis.

The memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows in income tax rate cuts alone, a typical Wisconsin family will save $2,000 over the 10-year period between 2011 and 2021.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) notes the tax savings were driven by the Republican-controlled Legislature and former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, did sign the latest Republican-crafted budget, which offered another round of tax cuts, But Evers’ original “tax cut” proposal included $1 billion in tax increases on manufacturers and retirement savings.

“One of our top priorities has been to allow Wisconsin families to keep more of their own hard-earned money,” Vos said in a statement. “Republicans have proven we can cut taxes, fund essential state programs and grow the economy.”

Republicans also signed off on an $81 billion, two-year state budget that pumped in $5 billion-plus more in government spending.

But they have delivered on significant tax reductions during their tenure in control of the Legislature.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum found that the tax burden in Wisconsin dropped to the lowest level in nearly 50 years. Its report examined state and local taxes as a share of income.

And the Tax Foundation ranks Wisconsin 32nd in its annual national tax burden ranking, a marked improvement over the last eight years of surveys, Vos notes.

The Fiscal Bureau’s review looked at statutory changes that “directly reduce a person’s tax liability,” the Speaker said.

“As illustrated in the memo, the current budget grows the annual tax cuts to more than $2.3 billion, which includes reductions by more than $1.2 billion in income and franchise taxes and economic development surcharges, $18 million in other general fund taxes and $1.1 billion in property taxes,” Vos said.

Republican legislative leaders recently said they would like to see another round of tax cuts if tax revenue comes in better than expected in January. Evers has balked at the notion, suggesting that he’s not keen on permanent tax cuts using one-time higher tax revenue.

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