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Walker explores elimination of income or property tax

Gov. says his goal every year he's in office is to cut taxes

MADISON, Wis. - Walker explores elimination of income or property tax

Gov. Scott Walker confirms his administration is exploring major tax reform in the coming year.

In a year-end interview with News 3, he said he's directed key officials to begin meeting with stakeholders across the state.

"My goal is every year I'm in office I'm going to cut taxes," Walker said. "We've seen the overall tax burden in this state go down by $1.5 billion, and seen property taxes and income tax rates go down. Those are all good things, but they are kind of nibbling and chipping away."

Walker said big ideas he is exploring include completely eliminating state income or property taxes.

"The criterion is overall to have taxes go down," Walker said. "Along with that, any choice we make for any other sort of reform really should be driven by how big of an impact does it have on job creators? Is this the thing that would help small businesses grow? And if so, that's something we want to take a look at."

News 3 asked what other tax, including sales, Walker would consider increasing to make up for lost revenue.

"That's part of the discussion we want to have with people," Walker said. "Say the sales tax -- we are blessed with the fact that in this state, compared to many of our neighbors in the Midwest, property and income tax are relatively high, but sales taxes are some of the lower ones in the Midwest. Potentially you could see an increase there if you eliminated something like the income tax or a major chunk of the property tax."

Walker said he wants to have a conversation with voters about the issue, which is sure to happen as he campaigns for re-election. Democrats are already focusing on his 250,000-jobs pledge.

"I think that will be part of it, but it won't just be about if I'm at 249,999," Walker said. "I don't think the masses in this state will say, 'Aha, you're one short.' I think what they will do is look at a series of things."

Walker said he thinks voters will make a choice about "going forward or going backward."

The latest Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages showed Wisconsin still ranked 44th in private-sector job creation from December 2011 to December 2012. But the governor said he's optimistic about the state's economic prospects.

"There are a lot of different variables out there and some show us higher than others, some show us lower," Walker said. "But I think as time goes on, you're going to continue to see us moving up."

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