Governor Scott Walker will propose $800 million in tax cuts Wednesday evening, representing most of the state’s $912 million revenue surplus. Half of the cuts will be achieved through property tax reductions, and the other half will consist of lower payroll taxes, as well as lower income tax rates for the lowest state bracket.
“What do you do with a surplus? Give it back to the people who earned it. It’s your money,” Walker will tell the state legislature in his annual “State of the State Address,” according to an excerpt released to the press. The tax cuts will be a core part of Walker’s new budget for the state, entitled the “Blueprint for Prosperity.”
Walker has presided over a remarkable turnaround in Wisconsin’s finances. When he took office in 2011, the state was running a $3.6 billion deficit. One of his first acts was to pass a corporate tax cut, which Democrats derided as a giveaway to the rich, but which helped grow the local economy and attract businesses and jobs.
The collective bargaining reforms that Walker subsequently enacted, over vehement Democrat and union opposition, also helped state and local governments save money while preserving public sector jobs. To that achievement, Walker can now add a tax cut–something few other governors, even Republicans, have achieved.