GOP: ‘Wisconsin is Open for California’s Budget Crisis’

Supermajority Plan Could Doom State's Economic Future to California-Sized Deficits

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker’s misguided plan to create a supermajority for tax increases ignores that the taxes targeted have not been increased by the legislature in over 30 years. Similar supermajority measures in California have led to that state’s near economic collapse, a record-setting deficit and draconian cuts for critical public investments.

“Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans are willing to do anything to ensure the wealthiest Wisconsinites never have their taxes raised again,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “The people of Wisconsin are once again seeing Republicans bend over backwards to address the corporate special interest wish list and ignore the promise to create jobs and reduce the deficit. Let’s not forget, we are talking about a list of taxes that haven’t been raised since Gov. Walker was in junior high school.”

Walker and the legislative Republican majority are pushing through a bill which would require a two-thirds supermajority to raise corporate income taxes, state income taxes or the state sales tax. This plan would likely skyrocket Wisconsin’s fees and property taxes and could create budget stalemates which have nearly brought California’s economy to a grinding halt.

A memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau notes how long it has been since these taxes were raised by the state legislature:

  • The individual income tax rate was last raised in 1972
  • The corporate income tax rate was last raised in 1981
  • The state sales tax was last increased in 1982
  • [Legislative Fiscal Bureau, 1/7/11]

The one exception to this was the 2009 income tax increase on the top one percent of income earners – those making over $225,000 a year.

“This plan is a guarantee that in times of crisis, the Republicans would rather cut education and health care and take police and firefighters off the streets than ask their special interest contributors to pay even a dime more to protect our state’s vital interests,” said Ross. “Unless the Republican plan is to starve public services to usher in costly privatization and pay off corporate special interests, it makes no sense to target taxes that haven’t been raised in decades.”

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