In signing a new two-year budget, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker fattened corporate welfare programs while making cuts to just about every public service the working poor depend on, including healthcare, child care, higher education and transportation. The Center on Wisconsin Strategy has correctly labeled the new budget a “Betrayal of Wisconsin Values.”
According to a release from the Center:
- Funding for Medicaid and BadgerCare, the programs that ensure that all children have access to healthcare, will be cut by $500 million;
- Funding for Child Care, the service that low-income workers depend on to take care of their children so they can go to work, will be cut by $15 million;
- Funding for the Property Tax Circuit breaker, the program that reduces property tax payments for low-income families (many elderly), will no longer be indexed to inflation and will be worth $13.6 million less;
- Funding for technical colleges, education that provides skills for new workers and retraining for displaced ones, will lose $71.6 million, or 25% of its total funding;
- Funding for Public Transportation, for many low-income workers the sole mean of getting to and from their job, will be cut by $9.2 million;
- Funding for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which provides the working poor with a tax credit to offset regressive payroll taxes, will be scaled back by $56.2 million. The EITC has been championed by economists across the political spectrum for its significant work incentive and capacity to help the working poor pull themselves out of poverty.
These and other cuts amount to $2 billion worth of support yanked out from underneath the working poor. Yet, in his frenzy of service cuts, Governor Walker somehow found room for $2.3 billion in tax breaks over the next decade, in the form of a domestic productio
n activities credit, two different capital gains tax breaks, and a variety of new sales tax exemptions for priorities like snowmaking and snow grooming equipment.
Of all the factors that stimulate a state’s economy by attracting private sector business, corporate taxes are among the least significant. A skilled workforce capable of getting to job sites is a much higher priority for virtually any smart business owner. Unfortunately, Governor Walker’s budget just put that asset in serious jeopardy.
Photo via Blue Robot Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0