January 27, 2008

Use Estate Tax Cut to Fill Budget Gap

One Wisconsin Now has launched a statewide online petition drive calling for Wisconsin legislators to fill a projected $300 million budget shortfall not by slashing critical programs to the poor, elderly and disabled, but by reinstating the estate tax for the heirs and heiresses of Wisconsin’s wealthiest which expired January 1. 

This $300 million brand new tax break for the sons and daughters of the state’s wealthiest was absurd to being with, now it’s indefensible.

One Wisconsin Now has launched a statewide online petition drive calling for Wisconsin legislators to fill a projected $300 million budget shortfall not by slashing critical programs to the poor, elderly and disabled, but by reinstating the estate tax for the heirs and heiresses of Wisconsin’s wealthiest which expired January 1. 

This $300 million brand new tax break for the sons and daughters of the state’s wealthiest was absurd to being with, now it’s indefensible.

Late last week, state officials announced an impending budget shortfall of at least $300 million. The three-year cost of the new estate tax loophole for Wisconsin’s wealthiest is $300 million, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

An aide to the top Republican on the budget writing committee said this weekend cuts could come from additional vital spending programs aimed at those most in need and approved in last year’s budget. The list includes:

$20 million for FamilyCare, providing long-term care to the disabled and elderly $7 million for health care for the poorest adults $120 million for students in public schools $25 million for the University of Wisconsin System.

Wisconsin will not allow the legislature to slash programs for the poor, elderly and disabled to protect a massive tax break for the state’s next Paris Hilton. These tax breaks for the super-rich started this year and if we have a budget shortfall, they need to end now.

The Estate tax was eliminated years ago for all but the state’s wealthiest. Cuts in the federal estate tax by the Bush administration led to a state law under Republican Gov. Scott McCallum that included an effective end to Wisconsin’s estate tax for the wealthiest beginning this year.

If Wisconsin can’t afford new assistance to the disabled, the poor, our seniors and our children, then Wisconsin can’t afford a new $300 million tax break for the heirs and heiresses to Wisconsin’s largest fortunes.

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