We’ve been on the radio and the Internet about the fiasco known as the state budget, and we’re getting a lot of feedback from people who’ve called their legislators to express their opinion on the budget. We keep hearing that certain legislative offices are telling their constituents the budget does not raise taxes! Well, saying it does not make it true. Here’s some solid evidence those offices are either woefully ignorant of the details of the budget or are deliberately misleading their constituents.
According to a memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), the state budget approved by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) increases taxes and fees by $2.1 billion. The budget would also generate $132.1 million in additional revenue through “enhanced collection measures” (i.e., They’re going after deliquent taxpayers with a real vengeance. Geithner should be grateful he’s not from the state of Wisconsin).
Some of those tax increases….
- Postpone a scheduled deduction for health insurance premiums for employees in an employer group plan
- Postpone a scheduled deduction for certain child and dependent care expenses
- Increase the hospital assessment (a tax that will certainly be passed down to patients)
- Increase the nursing home bed assessment (You’ve got to be kidding me! Retirees were hit the hardest during the Stock Market fall last year, and you’re instituting a tax that will most likely be passed down to them?)
Some of the tax decreases are…
- Increase homestead tax credit for low income home-owners
- Increase allowable deduction for dependents from $250/dependent to $500/dependent
- Four tax decreases related to Native American Tribes
- An ethanol and biodiesel fuel credit
- And two tax decreases for Kenosha and Janesville Development Opportunity Zones
Two tax decreases directly affect (next year) your average and low-income Wisconsin family, hardly enough to help struggling families survive and recover. We’re in the throes of the worst economic crisis most of us have seen in our lifetime, the state has lost an estimated 140,000 jobs since the beginning of this recession, and Democratic leadership wants to raise taxes and fees by $2.1 billion.
To read through all the tax and fee increases and decreases, click here.
To find out what your state legislators are saying and doing about the budget, read WisPolitics excellent coverage at the WisPolitics Budget Blog.
To find out who your legislators are and how to contact them, click here.