State Budget Finale: Tax Breaks for the Rich, Potholes for our Roads and Secrecy for Politicians
Despite a media backlash when Republicans previously announced more tax breaks for the wealthy, the GOP proceeded ahead and cut taxes for individuals who make more than $200,000 a year.
MADISON – The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) was back in action today on Governor Walker’s 2015-17 state budget, after over a one month hiatus. For almost five weeks, legislative Republicans bickered behind closed doors about how many transportation jobs to cut and wages to slash in their attempt to find enough votes to pass the budget.
Despite a media backlash when Republicans previously announced more tax breaks for the wealthy, the GOP proceeded ahead and cut taxes for individuals who make more than $200,000 a year, resulting in a total loss of roughly $60 million over the next four years.
“While they slash and burn our public education and higher education system, they just can’t resist giving more tax giveaways to fortunate people who don’t need them, rather than fund our public schools. No doubt about it, that is their priority,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison).
On transportation, Republicans made $450 million in cuts to Wisconsin’s infrastructure, resulting in the loss of 5,850 Wisconsin jobs, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. This comes on the heels of another bad month of job news, with Wisconsin once again at the bottom of the barrel in Midwest job creation losing 6,100 jobs in May.
“For months we’ve listened to the GOP talk about ‘making the tough decisions’, yet today they refused to propose a sustainable way to fund our transportation system,” Rep. Taylor said. “Towns are going back to gravel. Our roads were recently ranked 3rd worst in the country. As we’ve seen all along, just like Governor Walker, JFC Republicans only care about one place and it starts with the letter ‘W’. It’s not the State of Wisconsin as it should be, but it’s the White House.”
To finish off the day, Republicans rolled out a truck load of harmful policies including broad legal protections for themselves against having to publicly disclose most communications and a wide array of most documents. This type of broad disclosure protection was previously reserved for the most private communications between spouses, medical providers and their patients, and between attorneys and their clients. They also broadly exempted themselves and the Governor from complying with state open record laws.
“You can tell a lot about people by what they do when no one is looking. On a holiday week at 9:00 p.m., Republicans showed that when no one was paying attention, the only backs they protected were their own.”