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.