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Kleefisch, Huebsch talk tax relief in northern Wisconsin

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News Superior,Wisconsin 54880 http://www.superiortelegram.com/sites/all/themes/superiortelegram_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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Kleefisch, Huebsch talk tax relief in northern Wisconsin
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Taxpayers can expect to see about $101 in property tax relief for a $150,000 home, and $58 for everyone in income tax relief.

“We’re making some changes in withholding where people are going to see a change in their paychecks,” said Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, during a tour of northwest Wisconsin to talk about Gov. Scott Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity.

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“The average Wisconsin family is going to see about $57.90 more in their paycheck or in their direct deposit … starting next month, so in April,” Kleefisch said. “You add all that up that’s going to be about $681, which is no small chunk of change and is good news.”

Wisconsin’s lowest tax rate will drop to 4 percent under the plan.

The plan, created to address a $911 million surplus in state revenues, also addresses worker training to help close the skills gap to provide employers with the skilled workers they need to operate their businesses.

“We know that there are a lot of employers — particularly here in Superior — who really need trained, ready workers,” Kleefisch said. “A lot of that is going to be used to eliminate waiting lists at technical colleges for those high-needs programs” such as welding, CNC machining and electro-mechanical engineering.

The final piece of that $35 million that’s going to be devoted to worker training is going to help folks with disabilities get the training they need to be a valuable part of the economy, Kleefisch said.

Walker signed legislation Monday to enhance training opportunities for people with disabilities, and expand workforce training grants.

“It’s a project that the governor calls the “year of the better bottom line,” Kleefisch said. Among the advantages of hiring people with disabilities is they have a better retention rate than average employees. She said that’s good for the employer, employee and the economy.

The state has traveled a long way in turning around the economy, said Administration Secretary Michael Huebsch. While the state had a $3.6 billion deficit, state workers on furloughs and had a statewide unemployment rate of 9.3 percent when Gov. Scott Walker took office about three years ago, he said the state unemployment rate just dropped to 6.1 percent and income growth is up over 4.4 percent.

“Every factor you look at to determine if a state’s economy is going in the right direction is moving the right way,” Huebsch said. “That is why the governor can call this a Blueprint for Prosperity. We have righted the ship.”

The Blueprint for Prosperity is just a start for changing the way Wisconsin taxes residents to pay for services.

Kleefisch has been traveling the state to hear from residents on how the state can change the way it taxes its residents for government services.

Kleefisch said it has been interesting to see the same themes coming up irrespective of geography and socio-economic factors. Superior was the second stop on the fact-finding tour.

“Universally, people are happy for the tax relief,” Kleefisch said.

She said among the themes that people have noticed is that Wisconsin is among the top 10 in terms of tax burden, and growing the state’s economy is one solution.

“A lot of folks are particularly irritated with our property and income tax,” Kleefisch said. “A lot of people here, in Superior because of its proximity to Minnesota, are particularly irritated by property taxes.”

She said many suggest dialing down property and income taxes, and relying more on sales tax. She said others suggest less government spending.

People can still weigh in on ways to reform Wisconsin taxes at taxreform.wi.gov.

Huebsch said people can also see how their tax dollars are spent at openbook.wi.gov.

“It’s basically the state’s checkbook,” Huebsch said.

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Shelley Nelson
(715) 395-5022
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