Untargeted Tax Breaks for Seniors: An Idea that Ought to be Retired

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Last year, Wisconsin Governor Doyle signed into law a bill completely eliminating all taxes on Social Security benefits by 2008. This week, Governor Doyle prepared a new budget, which includes a measure fast-forwarding the exemption by one year. The proposal comes at a time when the state is straining to fill a $1.6 billion shortfall. The proposed budget attempts to find new revenue by increasing vehicle registration fees, cigarette taxes, and the real estate transfer tax. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated that the Social Security exemption alone would cost around $100 million per year. In his State of the State speech earlier this year, Governor Doyle said that Wisconsin had to learn to live within its means... advice that he should heed himself.

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