Some real talk about Walker’s fiscal policy


Steve Walter, for Wispolitics, gives us a glimpse of the budgetary implications of Scott Walker’s most magnificent campaign promises. In case any of you haven’t kept up, Walker has recently come under fire for promising to “create 250,000 jobs” by 2015. Such a goal, if realized, would translate into virtual full employment in the state.

**Walker: “I want to lower the tax on employers…”

First clarifying question: By “employers,” Scott, do you mean all Wisconsin businesses?

If so, you’re referring to the “corporate income and franchise” tax, which totaled $629.5 million last year, and is projected to go up — by 11 percent — to $700 million this year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Democratic legislators, who said they were closing a “Las Vegas” tax-avoidance loophole, and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle last year raised taxes paid by large, multi-state companies.

Or, were you referring to payroll taxes businesses pay to finance unemployment benefits? If so, remember that Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance fund is out of cash, after paying a record $3.2 billion in jobless benefits last year.

Right now, Wisconsin has borrowed $1.1 billion from the federal government; by the end of the year that debt is expected to be $1.9 billion, which doesn’t include interest (that must be added in 2011).

There are only two ways to repay the federal loan, experts say: Raise taxes on employers, or cut benefits to the jobless. Which of those two changes — and what exact changes — are you recommending, Scott?

He asks similar questions in response to Walker’s property tax and income tax promises. It’s a pretty simple question: What are you going to cut Scott? Unfortunately, it’s a question that is rarely asked of Republicans.

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One Response to “Some real talk about Walker’s fiscal policy”

  1. Sam Clegg Says:

    While the claim of being able to eliminate unemployment in the state is absurd, curtailing unemployment benefits would provide a statistically significant incentive to return to the workforce. Coupled with tax cuts on employers, such a plan may – may – have a very positive impact on unemployment. Cutting benefits to the jobless may be a good route insofar as it would produce the best possible numbers on unemployment, but Walker’s most glaring flaw is that he doesn’t seem to recognize any types of positive externalities from continuing the benefits – particularly if people who are unemployed spend this time productively (more time at home with the kids, etc). Walker’s position towards employment assumes an element of the nonsensical when, to the best of my knowledge, there is not a conclusive study on how the unemployed actually spend their time. Maybe such a study does exist, but I haven’t been able to find it.

    In any case, it’s a real shame that there is no serious discussion of more pertinent issues anymore. I mean, fucking taxes? What about sodomy? Katie Nix, when she departed, left a wide gap in our defenses against the pernicious advance of atheism.

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