MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker refuses to detail how he will pay for his nearly $2 billion in tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the rich and big business. But he said late last week that wage and benefit cuts for state workers are one way to close the state’s $2 billion-plus projected state deficit. In order to finance both the tax cuts and close the deficit, Walker would need to cut state worker pay and benefits by 42 percent, or slash 29,000 state jobs.
“Every day it becomes clearer Scott Walker’s plans for Wisconsin are a complete farce,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “First, he says he will reduce the unemployment rate to zero and now he wants to balance the budget and pay for tax cuts for the rich and big business by slashing state worker pay almost in half or by cutting 29,000 jobs.”
Walker’s worker cuts could mean the loss of 42 percent of the state’s public workforce – thousands of teachers and researchers from the University of Wisconsin, prison guards and state troopers who provide public safety and health care workers who assist the elderly and people with disabilities.
Walker, appearing last Friday before the Milwaukee Press Club, said he would address the state budget deficit by “proposing major wage and benefit cuts from state employees.” As has been true throughout his campaign for governor, Walker refused to provide any specifics, particularly on what additionally he would cut to pay for four proposed tax cuts he first outlined in November 2009, including:
- 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]
“Seven months after proposing his tax cuts for the rich and big business, Scott Walker has yet to show how he can pay for this and balance the budget,” said Ross. “Worse than anything, Scott Walker wants to take a $2 billion budget hole and double it to $4 billion with a reckless tax cut plan for the rich and big business that Wisconsin cannot afford.”
As County Executive, Walker has privatized and underfunded vital public services which have caused havoc for people most in need, particularly the county’s mental health center, where patients have been assaulted and Walker has refused to hold his administrators accountable.
Further information about the mismanagement and skewed priorities of Scott Walker, which have devastated Milwaukee County, is available at: http://www.scottwalkerfailurefiles.com.