Lawmakers Don’t Need Additional Tax Revenue to Avoid Worst of Budget Cuts
Lawmakers hoping to avoid some of the damaging budget cuts proposed by Governor Walker had pinned their hopes on tax revenues coming in higher than originally anticipated, thereby boosting the resources available to invest in Wisconsin’s schools, communities and workforce.
However, new estimates released today show no increase in tax revenue over the original projections.
That news is sure to put key GOP legislators in a bind, especially ones who have indicated they would like to undo some of the damaging cuts in the Governor’s budget and make budget changes that have strong public support. The legislature’s budget committee even postponed their deliberations last week, hoping for news of higher-than-anticipated tax revenues. That hope has now been dashed.
Fortunately, there is another way to build a budget that invests in Wisconsin and avoids the worst of the cuts proposed by Governor Walker, even without higher than anticipated tax revenue.
By reallocating resources and avoiding new tax cuts, legislators can support Wisconsin’s excellent public schools, a university system that drives innovation, and a healthy workforce. Lawmakers can free up an estimated $782 million in the budget by making three changes:
- Capping a new corporate tax break that is now expected to cost more than twice the amount originally anticipated;
- Halting the $211 million expansion of a property tax credit that does little to help most Wisconsinites; and
- Saving an estimated $345 million by expanding access to BadgerCare for adults with low incomes, which would qualify Wisconsin for a much larger share of federal Medicaid funding.
We’ve put together more information that shows lawmakers how they can avoid devastating budget cuts and instead invest in the assets that make Wisconsin a great place to live, raise families, and do business. Here are resources about alternative budget priorities that would protect Wisconsin’s future prosperity and quality of life:
Nearly 20 groups have signed on to support an alternative budget that invests in Wisconsin’s strengths. Supporters include the Wisconsin Council of Churches, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, and many other organizations.
- Analysis: Better Choices for the Wisconsin Budget: Lawmakers Can Avoid Deep Cuts without Raising Taxes
The deep cuts in critical areas of the budget can be avoided relatively easily without any new tax revenue. State policymakers could free up $782 million by making three changes: capturing our state’s share of the money Wisconsin taxpayers have been sending to Washington for Medicaid expansions; halting the continued phase-in of an ineffective corporate tax break that has mushroomed in cost; and reallocating $211 million that the bill uses for poorly targeted property tax cuts.