- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
Walker makes case for property, income tax cuts
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker made the case in his State of the State speech Wednesday that extra money coming in because of the improving national economy should be returned as property and income tax cuts, though some Republicans say his proposal goes too far.
Walker, in a speech that also doubled as an argument for re-election in November, asked lawmakers to approve $504 million in property and income tax cuts over the next 17 months.
“The state of our state is strong and improving every day,” Walker said during a joint meeting of the Legislature in a packed Assembly chamber. “The economy is dramatically better and our finances are in great shape. Still, there is more work to be done.”
The hourlong speech, Walker’s fourth State of the State address, comes as he’s aiming for another term in office and positioning himself as a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate. Democrat Mary Burke, a former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive, is challenging him in the governor’s race.
Walker’s tax cut proposal - which would save a typical homeowner about $150 a year - was made possible by updated projections released last week that showed Wisconsin would collect $912 million more than previously anticipated.
“What do you do with a surplus?” he said in the speech. “Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money.”
But elements of the tax cut plan, dubbed by Walker a “Blueprint for Prosperity,” are running into opposition from some Republican state senators who say it increases the projected budget shortfall too much. Republicans control the Senate 18-15 and have a 60-39 majority in the Assembly.
Heading into the 2015 two-year budget, the state already faces a $725 million projected shortfall. That would grow by about $100 million under Walker’s proposed tax cut, but those estimates don’t take into account future revenue growth.
Tax collections would only have to grow 1.5 percent to wipe out that shortfall, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Wednesday. Net tax collections are projected to increase by 2.2 percent by July and another 4.3 percent by mid-2015.
Republican Sen. Luther Olsen, of Ripon, said Walker’s tax cut plan will have to be scaled back so the projected shortfall doesn’t grow.
“We have to reduce it,” Olsen said. “We ran (for office) on that stuff.”
Republican Senate President Mike Ellis said his preference would be to reduce the size of Walker’s proposed income tax cut to help lower the projected deficit if it appeared revenue growth wouldn’t be strong enough to eliminate the shortfall.
“Every conservative has been against inordinate deficits,” Ellis said.
Still, Fitzgerald said that while Republican senators were concerned about the shortfall growing, they were also supportive of cutting taxes.
“There’s definitely a willingness to return the money to taxpayers,” Fitzgerald said.
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- CURL: Obama's foreign policy even worse than his domestic policy
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
- Sold out: Ukraine's leadership swapped best military weapons for cash
- Jimmy Carter: Dont hurt Russian people with sanctions
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014