Walker says he’ll use unexpected state revenue to cut taxes
Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio
The Walker administration says revenue estimates coming out soon will show the state taking in hundreds of millions more than previously expected.
Gov. Scott Walker says he wants to use the money to cut taxes and adjust income tax withholding tables.
While there are still no hard numbers to review, the news that revenue is projected to increase is no surprise in state government. It's also no shock that Walker is talking about using the money for income and property tax relief.
If there is a surprise in what Walker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it's that he’s also considering reducing what the state withholds from workers' paychecks. Todd Berry with the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says that's a step the state hasn't taken in many years.
“It doesn't increase future spending and it does give people money, or let them keep it, rather than letting them wait until next spring,” says Berry.
Budget expert Jon Peacock with the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families says he sees nothing wrong with adjusting the withholding tables, but he thinks Republicans ought to use this extra revenue to undo some of the moves they took two budgets ago. For example, he says, they could use it to restore cuts to education.
“From education for young children through the higher education system, we ought to be investing more there to make sure Wisconsin is economically competitive in the future,” says Peacock.
Both Peacock and Berry say Republicans ought to use this opportunity to undo some of the budgetary maneuvers of the past couple decades – things like delaying school aid payments from one fiscal year to the next. As Berry puts it: “It has no political sex appeal, but it might be the right thing to do.”
Walker will get into more details about his plans for the money next week when he delivers his annual State of the State Address.