Gov. Scott Walker has enacted $5 billion in tax relief since taking office in 2011. On top of that, Walker’s landmark Act 10 entitlement reforms have saved Wisconsin taxpayers $5 billion since it was signed into law six years ago. Now, Gov. Walker is calling for the elimination of an entire tax in 2017.
Most property taxes in Wisconsin are levied at the local level. However, there is a state property tax whose proceeds fund forestry programs. Gov. Walker’s 2017-2019 budget axes the state property tax, which will save taxpayers $180 million over the next two years, while maintaining forestry funding with general fund dollars.
“I think as Republicans our mission is to reform government, make it more efficient, more effective, more accountable and in turn lower, not raise the tax burden on the hardworking people of this state. So I do want to eliminate the revenue source,” Gov. Walker told Media Trackers, explaining the motivation for his push to eliminate the state portion of the property tax.
Christian Schneider, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, explains how Gov. Walker’s property tax proposal will fix the currently flawed approach to funding forestry:
“When funded with the dedicated state property tax, the forestry fund was budgeted backwards; the state would calculate how much the tax brought in, then figure out how it was going to use the money.”
While Wisconsin’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee decided yesterday to push their vote on Walker’s property tax proposal to next week, Sen. Alberta Darling (River Hills) & Rep. John Nygren (Marinette), who chair the committee, announced they plan to approve and move forward with Walker’s proposal. After it is approved by JFC, Walker’s property tax proposal will then be sent to the Senate and Assembly for floor votes.
“After Act 10, Right to Work, Prevailing Wage repeal, and multiple rounds of tax cuts, it’s clear that Wisconsin has passed some of the nation’s most transformational, pro-taxpayer, pro-growth reforms in recent years,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said. “I applaud Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin legislators for continuing to look for ways to provide taxpayer relief and more efficiently spend taxpayer dollars. Gov. Walker’s leadership serves as an inspiration for governors and lawmakers in other states, as well as Congress.”