Thursday, September 22, 2016

Spare us the rhetoric: Walker raised some taxes, fees

[Updated from 9/12] Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker and GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos are continuing their pre-budget dance which could well end with cuts to social programs to finance too many new roads and please the road-builder lobby.

But please, gentlemen: we are not stupid. We can read. We can Google Scott Walker and tax increases and increased fees and find the facts.

So spare us sanctimonious b.s. like this demonstrably phony and self-serving jaw-dropper Walker made in his no-new-taxes-and-fees- pitch to Vos today:

“I believe we can agree that we did not get elected as conservatives to raise taxes or fees,” Walker wrote.
Well, yes they did. Let's refresh their memories:

*  Taxes:  Politifact, citing the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, said Walker's first budget in 2011-'13 budget broke a promise by raising more $49 million in taxes on low-income and elderly people:

The bureau determined that Walker included three tax increases in the budget totaling $49.4 million over the two-year period.
The largest involved a reduction in a state tax credit for low-income working families, known as the earned income credit. A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe. 
In this case, the earned income tax credit is in place for both state and federal taxes. It"s refundable, so individuals with little or no income tax liability may still receive the credit. 
Walker"s plan would decrease the tax credit for families with more than one child, allowing the state to collect an additional $41.3 million in taxes over two years from those families. (The credit would actually go up for families with just one child.) 
A second tax increase, the fiscal bureau said, is stopping the inflationary adjustment of the state"s Homestead Tax Credit -- the property tax break that appears as a credit on income tax forms for low-income homeowners and renters. The bureau calculated that change would increase taxes by an estimated $8.1 million.
*  Fees - - I suppose Walker forgot all the state park, trail and forest fees Walker and Vos raised when they put together the 2015-'17 budget, as explained by the DNR:
MADISON -- Camping fees for Wisconsin state parks, state forests, state trails, and state recreation areas will increase beginning on July 28, 2015. 
The fee increases were enacted as part of the 2015-2017 biennial state budget. The legislation calls for the fee increases to go into effect as soon as changes can be made to the camping reservation system. 
The increase in camping fees is based on a three-level rate structure that will place the parks at a camping rate depending on demand, uniqueness, location and other factors. Camping rates will increase between $3 and $6 per night for residents and between $6 and $9 per night for non-residents. There is an increase in the per night charge for electrical service from $5 to $10.. 
Admission fees and trail passes were also increased in the state budget, but will not begin until annual stickers and passes for 2016 go on sale in December 2015, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2016. Annual admission sticker fees will increase from $25 to $28 for state residents, from $35 to $38 for non-residents and $10 to $13 for resident seniors. Annual trail passes will increase from $20 to $25 for an annual pass and from $4 to $5 for a daily pass.
*  Triggering new local taxes and fees - - By starving local budgets, Walker and the Legislature have pushed  costs to municipalities - - hence, wheel taxes to fix roads which have deteriorated because state funding has been reduced. The same is true for school districts which have increased borrowings paid back with property taxes to fund school improvements because state aids have fallen, or been frozen.

In fact, Urban Milwaukee says that kind of bonding is skyrocketing:
School districts are asking voters to approve nearly $700 million in borrowing for new construction and building updates, and more than $150 million in increases in school district budgets. Those requested amounts are the largest put before voters at the annual spring election going back at least a decade. School districts can hold referendums at any time during the year, but many referendums are scheduled to correspond with regularly-held elections like the annual April election. 
Wisconsin’s public schools are funded through a combination of state support and local property taxes. State law limits the degree to which districts can raise property taxes, unless residents vote to approve an increase in school district budgets. In the most recent state budget, lawmakers did not increase the revenue limits for school districts.


Anonymous said...

Well I am sure I will see this story in the state's leading daily papers tomorrow! And hear about it on TV and radio too.

Oh wait...

Anonymous said...

Scott apparently believes that everyone in the state is too dumb to see through this phoniness.

Never elect an ideologue.

Anonymous said...

Walker doesn't have to assume anything - the state's media won't cover it in a coherent way. Dude we are screwed in more ways than you realize. Walker is a tool, but just a symptom and not actually the disease.