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July 12, 2005

Republican View on State Budget: Cutting Taxes a Priority in State Budget

Folks in Wisconsin have diverse views. Yet there seems to be one issue we can all agree on, and that’s the need to finally bring our taxes in line with the peoples’ ability to pay.

When Republicans won the majority in the state Assembly in 1994, we made a commitment to cut taxes each session in an effort to control our state’s tax burden. That commitment continues and is reflected in this budget with a number of tax cuts designed to give some relief to Wisconsin’s working families.

First, this budget contains a real property tax freeze.

It freezes the tax levy for all taxing units for three years, and recognizes that controlling property taxes requires controlling spending at all levels of government. Earlier this year, Governor Doyle looked Wisconsin taxpayers in the eye and told us that he supported a property tax freeze. The property tax freeze passed by the legislature allows the Governor to keep his commitment to Wisconsin taxpayers. If local governments feel they need to spend more, they may take requests for additional spending to the taxpayers in the form of a referendum.

A recent article in Bloomberg pointed to our tax climate when ranking Wisconsin as the worst state in America to retire. We need to reverse that trend, so we’re phasing out the state tax on Social Security pension income—a $100 million dollar tax cut for Wisconsin’s seniors. People who have worked hard all their lives deserve to spend their golden years here with their families, rather than be forced to look to other states to escape our tax burden. Families shouldn’t be split up due to our tax climate, and this tax cut can go along way toward ensuring that doesn’t have to happen.

Also included in the budget are tax cuts designed to help make health care insurance more affordable. This budget contains a full deduction for health insurance premiums paid by people whose employer does not provide insurance. And to help families save money for health care costs, contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) would no longer be taxable income in Wisconsin. HSAs have been shown to help reduce our state’s uninsured population, and are an affordable option for small businesses and farmers who are trying to provide health insurance for their employees.

The legislature cut the gas tax for the first time since 1994 and stood up for Wisconsin taxpayers by rejecting a number of Governor Doyle’s proposed tax hikes, including a vehicle registration fee increase of nearly 20%.

We rejected the Governor’s HMO Health Care tax which would have increased costs for Wisconsin residents, said no to his proposed hike of the Nursing Home Bed Tax, and reduced his Daycare Tax—saving Wisconsin taxpayers an additional $140 million.

Recognizing the importance of Wisconsin’s sporting heritage, we also substantially reduced the 60% increase in gun and archery licenses called for by the Governor.

Finally, stronger families build a stronger Wisconsin. That’s why we supported an Adoption Tax Credit to help families give hope to children in need of better lives.

In all, the Republican budget spends $300 million less and borrows $600 million less than Governor Doyle. Not only are we cutting taxes, the state will be in a much better shape financially than it would have been under the Governor’s budget.

Some people will argue that tax cuts should not be a priority during tight budgets, but just the opposite is true. Tough economic times are when tax cuts can be most effective in getting our economy and our state moving again.

Now more than ever, Wisconsin Republicans are committed to cutting taxes on working families, and we’ll keep cutting taxes until they are finally brought in line with our ability to pay.

By Mike Huebsch, Republican state Rep from West Salem.

Posted by Ruth Robarts at July 12, 2005 9:47 AM