Capitol Report – Don’t believe the hype

By State Representative, Leon D. Young

Leon D. Young

How do you attempt to carry favor with state voters a scant 13 months before your bid for reelection?

If you’re Scott Walker, you pitch the idea of implementing a $100 million property tax cut.

At first glance, the prospect of extending a tax cut to property taxpayers sounds most enticing.

After all, who wants to give more money to the dreaded tax man?

The property tax cut ($100 million) would come out of an expected remaining general fund balance – or budget surplus – of nearly $200 million over the two-year budget.

According to Walker, this property tax cut proposal is the best thing since sliced bread.

At a press conference held last week, Walker suggested the need for the Legislature to convene in special session in order to consider a proposal to lower property taxes.

Walker went on to assert, “the more we looked at, the more we looked at the size of the surplus, we said if we’re going to do it, let’s go big and go bold.”

But, in reality, just how bold is this proposal? The non-partisan Legislative fiscal Bureau estimates the plan would lower taxes on a typical Wisconsin home about $13 this year and $20 next year, but those amounts will vary widely based on where residents live and the value of their homes.

Interestingly enough, the governor conveniently decided to unveil his tax cut plan just days after Mary Burke announced her candidacy to become the chief executive of the state.

Ms. Burke, a former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive and state Commerce Secretary, is a potent political challenger.

Her personal wealth and impressive background could prevent other Democrats from getting in the race.

Caught between a rock and hard place, it’s hard to image that Democrats will not vote in favor of Walker’s tax cut plan. But, don’t believe the hype.

This plan would actually add to the state’s structural budget deficit projected to be $545 million.

At best, this proposal is nothing more than a political ploy.