Evers says everything is on the table
September 24, 2018
[Madison, WI] — When you hear a bureaucrat saying tax increases are going to be “reasonable,” run for cover. Last week, Tony Evers told Wisconsin voters that he’s open to a variety of tax increases – including on property taxes, income taxes, and gas taxes. While Scott Walker has fought for hard-working taxpayers and cut taxes by over $8 billion during his time in office, Evers is all but promising Wisconsin families that they can expect higher taxes if he’s elected this fall.
Read more about Tony Evers tax-hiking plans here, or find excerpts below:
Tony Evers’ Tax Increase Ideas: Shifting ‘Priorities’ Or ‘Recipe For Economic Disaster’?
M.D. Kittle and Ola Lisowski
September 24th, 2018
Tony Evers wants more money for government – a lot more.
The secretary of the state Department of Public Instruction and Democrat candidate for governor proposes a big infusion of new revenue for everything from education to transportation.
Just how Evers plans to fund it all remains a bit murky, but one thing is certain: Somebody would have to pay for the candidate’s government expansion plans.
During his annual State of Education Address at the Capitol Thursday, the public education chief laid out his plan to increase education spending by $1.4 billion in the next biennial budget, which would follow Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s historic investment in K-12 education, which boosted spending by $639 million in the current two-year budget.
Afterward Evers took – and seemed reluctant to answer – a flurry of questions from Capitol reporters, including MacIver Institute’s Ola Lisowski. How would Evers pay for it all?
Yet to be determined, according to the candidate.
“There’s no definite plans at this time,” Evers said. He went on to insist, “Anything is on the table.”
Based on his public statements, anything could include a hefty gas tax. He’s open to 33 cents a gallon, but Evers shrugged off claims by Walker’s campaign that the Democrat would hike the state’s gas tax by as much as a buck a gallon.
The Walker campaign ad asserts Evers would raise various taxes. Evers again didn’t disabuse anyone of that notion during Thursday’s press gaggle.
Evers said he is considering a broad range of possible tax hikes, “shifts,” and “revenue enhancements” to pay for transportation.
Property taxpayers could be looking at higher bills for the first time in several years under Evers’ latest education budget proposal, which includes a 10 percent spending increase. That would be on top of the $636 million in additional ed spending Walker built into the state’s current two-year budget.
While he insists his goal is to “keep taxes reasonable,” Evers is drawing from the old redistributionist handbook. In short, higher taxes for higher earners in the pursuit of lifting the tax burden off of Wisconsin’s middle class, Evers insists.
But what Evers leaves out in his class warfare rhetoric is the number of small business owners that would be hit by higher income taxes. So-called “pass-through” businesses are taxed at the individual tax rate, not at the corporate rate.
“Again, small business people and small farmers in this state hardly make enough money to be considered wealthy and to be in any kind of a major tax bracket,” Evers told reporters Thursday. “We have to prioritize our taxation policies so that we benefit the small business owners and the people of Wisconsin that are hard-working and can barely just get by.”
If small businesses are a priority, higher income taxes on pass-throughs would seem a contradiction.
The Tax Foundation notes that these sole proprietorships, S corporations, and partnerships make up the vast majority of businesses in the United States and more than 60 percent of net business income. Pass-through businesses account for more than half of the private sector workforce.
A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy found more than 42,000 jobs were created between 2013 and 2016 thanks to the Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit. More than 88 percent of tax credit recipients were small businesses, with incomes less than $1 million.
Scott Manley, senior vice president of Government Affairs for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, said raising taxes and eliminating job-creating tax credits is a “recipe for economic disaster and failure.”
“It would be difficult to design a better blueprint to ruin Wisconsin’s economy than what Tony Evers is proposing right now,” Manley said.
Read the full story here.