Gov. Scott Walker points to a Wisconsin flag at Applied Laser Technologies in Weston, in January during his State of the State Tour.
Everyone wants an income tax break. But, as we know, there's no such thing as a free lunch.
Under Gov. Scott Walker's new budget proposal, income tax bills would be trimmed by an average of $83 in 2014. At the same time, the tax break would contribute to the state spending $188 million more than it takes in, which means Wisconsin would face another structural deficit.
Walker and the Republicans just spent the last two years boasting about eliminating the structural deficit, and the cuts they made in 2011 helped the state get back on the right financial path. Let's keep it that way.
The proposed small tax cut isn't worth it if we're going to have to go through another fierce budget battle the next time around.
What happened to not kicking the can down the road?
Walker's proposed tax break also is problematic because those with higher incomes receive more of a tax break than those with smaller incomes. A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis spells it out: "Families making more than $200,000 per year in adjusted gross income after deductions would receive just over $290. Families making $25,000 to $30,000 would receive around $22."
Studies show that tax breaks for poor and middle class workers are more effective at stimulating the economy because those with smaller salaries actually spend the money they get back. In other words, people in lower tax brackets put their tax break to use whereas rich taxpayers let the money sit in the bank.
The tax break appears to be about gaining political points instead of keeping the state on solid ground. The money should be put into public schools, or in a rainy day fund, or in eliminating the structural deficit the budget plan would put the state in.
We'd rather have a solid budget than a few bucks in our pocket.