Two views: property tax cuts and complaints
Watchdog.org – M. D. Kittle – 10/24/2013
MADISON – Wisconsin doesn’t see a lot of bipartisan legislation these days.
That’s why it’s so interesting to hear the grousing going on by Democrats over a Republican-led property tax relief bill — a bill most Dems supported. The $100 million package, after all, does something rarely done in Wisconsin: It cuts taxes.
Democrats say the property tax cut is too small, and that not everybody will realize the same relief. True, the package doesn’t spread out relief equally. What Democrats don’t tell you is that they would pay for their plan and other non-property tax initiatives by taking tens of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid money — taxpayer money, of course — that Gov. Scott Walker turned down. Walker has said that he’s not confident that a federal government facing a $17 trillion debt will be able to stand by its financial commitments to the states.
Ah, but everything is politics, it seems, in the deeply divided Badger State.
In their weekly radio addresses, the Republican governor and state Rep. Janet Bewely, D-Ashland, offer two distinctly different views of the recently passed and signed property tax cut bill. We present them here.
Gov. Scott Walker
On Sunday, I signed a bill providing $100 million in property tax relief for Wisconsin’s families, farmers, seniors, and small businesses. With this bill, the typical Wisconsin homeowner will save approximately $680 over four years.
That’s a stark contrast from the path property taxes were on in the past. In the decade before I took office, property taxes on a typical home skyrocketed by 27 percent. Now property taxes on a typical home will have dropped in three consecutive years. We were able to provide this relief because of higher than expected growth in state revenue due to our growing economy and job creation. Also because of our sound management of the state’s finances, the state of Wisconsin spent less money than anticipated in the last fiscal year.
I want to thank Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for their leadership, as well as Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature for their overwhelming bipartisan support for this property tax relief.
Families, farmers, seniors and small businesses all across Wisconsin can breathe a sigh of relief for the third year in a row thanks to our tough, but prudent, decisions and this $100 million investment in property tax relief.
Together, we are moving Wisconsin forward.
The governor’s address is here.
Rep. Janet Bewley
Last week the Legislature passed Governor Walker’s so-called property tax relief bill. Lost in all the hype is the fact that the Governor and Republican-controlled legislature are still raising your property taxes. And the little relief the law provides isn’t even being spread around evenly or fairly. The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance reports that property taxpayers in 82 school districts will see little or no benefit under the Republican plan.
For example, taxpayers in the Mercer School District will get a tax cut of $1. That’s not a dollar each – that’s one dollar divided among all the property taxpayers in the district, far short of the mere $13 the average homeowner was told to expect this year. And even if people get some relief under this bill, the average person’s property taxes will still rise in both 2013 and 2014.
Democrats put forward a plan that would have actually cut property taxes and utilized the first dollar credit to ensure all property taxpayers would benefit, but the Republicans said no. Time and time again, common-sense ideas are ignored because they are offered by Democrats.
The Republicans raised property taxes to give tax breaks to unaccountable private voucher schools. They refused federal health care resources that would have saved Wisconsinites money and provided coverage for more people. It is time to put common-sense solutions before partisanship.
The Legislature can do better. Wisconsin families deserve better.
See the address here
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