Walker to Pay for Part of $2 Billion Tax Cut Plan for Rich, Big Business By Cutting Seniors, Family From Health Care Coverage

Neumann Joins Call for Irresponsible Tax Cuts Just for $225,000 Income Earners, Out-of-State Corporate Tax Shelters

[Walker] said he was studying whether the state should change eligibility standards for the state’s Medicaid program, which provides health care for the poor, elderly and disabled. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/13/10]

MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s budget-busting tax giveaway to the rich and big business is under a new assault after Walker offered cutting seniors, people with disabilities and working families and children from health care coverage as a way to pay for his much-maligned plan to double Wisconsin’s projected $2-billion state budget deficit with a series of tax breaks that mostly benefit corporations and high-income people.

“Scott Walker is finally telling us who will be paying for his $2 billion in tax cuts for the rich and big business and it’s our seniors, people with disabilities, working families and our children,” said Scot Ross. “It is irresponsible for one senior or one person with disabilities or one child to go without health care so that he can give an income tax cut exclusively to those making more than $225,000. Has he no decency?”

Walker offered the health care cut proposal in an interview published Tuesday. If Walker were to cut eligibility, Wisconsin would have to repay hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding provided under the Recovery Act and put at risk hundreds of millions of additional Medicaid dollars planned at the federal level. Currently, more than 1.1 million Wisconsinites rely on Medicaid.

Walker has been under fire for promising nearly $2 billion in tax cuts on top of the state’s non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau over-$2 billion deficit projection for 2011-13. The four components of Walker’s oft-repeated $1.85 billion biennial tax cut plan include:

  • Slash income taxes for the top one percent of income earners who make more than $225,000 a year – two-year budget cost: $287 million.
  • Reopen the “Las Vegas Loophole” which allows Wisconsin businesses to shelter their tax obligations to Wisconsin families through phantom “offices” in states without corporate income tax – two-year budget cost: $375 million.
  • Repeal changes made to the capital gains tax deduction, despite the fact 70 percent of capital gains filings are from those earning more than $200,000 a year – two-year budget cost: $243 million.
  • Shelter the assets of the wealthiest Wisconsinites even more by a radical end to tax paid on retirement income, regardless of income – two-year budget cost: $920 million. [Legislative Fiscal Bureau , 2/23/09, 7/8/09, 1/25/10; “Upfront,” WISN-TV, 11/8/09; La Crosse Tribune, 11/24/09]

Multi-millionaire developer Mark Neumann is also now calling for several of Walker’s irresponsible tax cuts items, which would total $1 billion. Neumann’s income would likely make him part of the top one percent of income earners who would be eligible for the tax cut for the rich he and Walker are supporting.

This is not the first time Scott Walker has indicated he would pay for the tax cuts for the rich and big business at the expense of health care for those most in need. In October, Walker told a Madison television, “he thinks BadgerCare has become an entitlement program, rather than temporary assistance.” [Source: WISC-TV, 10/09/09]

Paying for the near-$2 billion in tax cuts would require Walker to end health care assistance to over 100,000 families (two adults, two children) per year enrolled in the state’s BadgerCare programs.

As county executive, Walker inherited the successful Milwaukee County General Assistance Medical Program, which helped approximately 30,000 county residents not qualifying for Medicaid or could not afford private health insurance. GAMP was under threat from Walker and he proposed in 2005 to wipe funding out for it entirely. GAMP has been folded into the BadgerCare Core Plus program, where it is currently protected from Walker cuts. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/25/05]

“When everyone in America is focused on increased access to affordable health care, Scott Walker wants to cut access to seniors, people with disabilities, working families and our children,” said. “It’s appropriate Scott Walker’s last solution-free television ad was called ‘Saturn,’ because his promises to cut taxes for the rich on the backs of our seniors and our children are just as bankrupt.”

For more information about Walker’s tax and spending record, including the 84 percent spending hikes he voted for in the State Legislature, visit www.OneWisconsinNow.org.

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.