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Walker to cut income taxes; Democrats want details on corresponding budget cuts


MADISON (WSAU)  A Democratic leader says that if Governor Scott Walker wants to cut state income taxes, he should also say how he’d pay for it with other new revenues or spending cuts. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca also says the poor and the elderly should get a larger share of any income tax break. He said it would make up for what Republicans did two years ago, when they scaled back the earned income tax credit for the working poor and blocked a scheduled expansion of a tax break for seniors. Barca said the middle class should then be the next to benefit.

The Republican Walker told Wisconsin bankers yesterday that an individual income tax cut is the best way to boost the state’s economy. He’ll propose a reduction that’s phased in over several years, and he’ll start spelling it out Tuesday night during his annual State-of-the-State address. Walker will hold back the complete details until he unveils his proposed new state budget next month.

The governor said he would not propose cuts in local property taxes – but he wants new controls to keep those taxes from going up.

By phasing in an income tax cut, Walker would increase the state’s structural deficit – money that’s needed to cover future obligations beyond the next budget period. Republican Senate President Mike Ellis has been a vocal opponent of structural deficits. But he said he would support a long-term income tax cut, as long as it includes an automatic mechanism which halts the reduction if state revenues drop sharply.