Republican lawmaker announces tax simplification plan to cut income taxes

Democrats argue money used for tax cuts should go to public schools instead
Republican lawmaker announces tax simplification plan to cut income taxes

One state lawmaker says you deserve a bigger cut in your income taxes. But Democrats argue that money should go to public schools instead.

Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, unveiled his “tax simplification” plan at a news conference in the Capitol Tuesday morning. He says he would use $409 million to cut income taxes for everyone, reduce income-tax brackets from five to three, and get rid of 18 tax-credit programs he says are used by fewer than 1 percent of filers.

“What this represents is a very responsible plan that is priced at a level where we still have plenty of money that we can give to our education system and meet other priorities out there,” said Kooyenga.

Democrats argue that the cut disproportionately benefits the rich by putting filers making $14,000 to $319,000 in the same bracket.

“The person very well off has the same tax bracket as someone who is working as a cashier,” said Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee. “I don’t think that’s right.”

“Is it going to help out people who make a lot of money in Wisconsin? Yes,” said Kooyenga. “Is it going to help out people who don’t make a lot of money in Wisconsin? Yes. It’s going to help out everyone in Wisconsin, but particularly the middle class.”

Republican lawmaker announces tax simplification plan to cut income taxes

Richards says the higher-than-expected revenue should be plunged instead into public schools, arguing the $550-per-pupil cut in the last budget could be mitigated.

“The dollar amount of that cut almost equals the amount of money that’s going to be spent on tax cuts in this budget, so I think it’s clear where the money is coming from, its coming from our schools,” said Richards.

The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance says this proposal does simplify your tax forms and even changes the tax cut so you would get the money back in lower withholding rather than a bigger refund. But they caution the plan is built on expected, not guaranteed, revenues.

“You can’t project revenues that closely so I think you have to be a bit careful on that one,” said Todd Berry, president of Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. “Whether it is increasing spending or cutting taxes, you are committing money that you aren’t going to collect for another year or two.”

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says that for a married couple earning $40,000 apiece, Gov. Walker’s plan would have cut their taxes by $104 a year in the next two years. This proposal would increase that cut by $38 in the second year.

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