A report from Scott Walker’s administration on overhauling state taxes, the product of a year's worth of online forums and meetings around the state between members of the Walker administration, to include Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and business leaders, failed to tell the full story on results gathered by the tax reform task force, leaving out public comments that differed from Walker’s narrative on further cutting taxes.
That’s according to the editorial board at the Green Bay Press Gazette, which criticized Walker for skewing the findings of his report to fit his point of view – akin to “propaganda.”
The Press Gazette, citing reporting from the Wisconsin State Journal, noted that comments from a quarter of the 285 online respondents stood in opposition to further tax cuts, instead saying they would prefer that state tax dollars go to investing in schools or roads, or reducing the state debt.
Those comments were left out of the final report, a “disservice” to the yearlong undertaking. Instead, the Walker administration, while stopping short of any recommendations for how to address tax reform in the state, simply summarized that taxes "are too high and complicated" and they "hinder economic growth, discourage job creation and burden family budgets.”
Despite Walker’s rhetoric on cutting taxes, and his deceptive omission of responses that run counter to that narrative, his only plan on the table for state taxes is a proposal to increase taxes on Wisconsin drivers by nearly $800 million.
The Walker administration proposal includes a gas tax increase that will average about $27 per year, per driver, a new vehicle fee increase of about $800 for the average new car, imposes higher fees for electric and hybrid cars, and a higher tax on diesel fuel. In late November, a coalition of 10 Wisconsin business groups, to include Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, released a statement in opposition to Walker's $750 million tax hike.
“It’s clear that Wisconsin families and businesses want to see a serious plan that addresses Scott Walker's $2.2 billion budget deficit without squeezing working families or further cutting critical services,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Friday. “That might run counter to Scott Walker’s tax-cutting narrative, especially as he runs for president, but it’s dishonest to suppress information he just doesn’t like.”
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