Rep. Jim Steineke: GOP surplus should reduce, not shift, state’s tax burden

February 10, 2019

KAUKAUNA — My job as a public servant is not to root against a person or party, but rather to root for our state and its growth. With a new chapter in Wisconsin politics on us, one of split government, it is more important than ever that we find common ground and ways to find agreement to nurture that growth.

In Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ first week in office, I, along with my Assembly Republican colleagues, sent the governor a letter advocating for finding commonalities and shared priorities. One thing on which I as a Republican can agree with our governor is lowering the tax burden for Wisconsinites.

As a conservative, I was glad to see Gov. Evers campaigned on a promise to cut taxes for middle-class families. If our $8 billion in tax cuts we’ve made over the last eight years are any indication, cutting taxes is a value we in the Assembly are committed to. Thanks to our responsible decisions and sound budgeting, we’re in a great position to fund a middle-class tax cut with our state’s budget surplus.

And that’s exactly what we intend to do. A few weeks ago, I joined my Assembly Republican colleagues across the state as we unveiled our plan to cut taxes for the middle class utilizing a Republican-created $588.5 million budget surplus. With our Middle Class Tax Cut legislation, we’re accomplishing Gov. Evers’ goal, using a method we can stand behind. It is truly a good faith, bipartisan effort.

Let’s talk numbers. Our plan proposes $340 million in tax relief to individuals making less than $100,000 and families making less than $150,000. The average family would see a $310 reduction in their net taxes. The middle class, filers with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000, makes up 75 percent of who the tax cut benefits.

In fact, the biggest beneficiaries are married couples who make between $30,000 and $40,000 — their tax liability would almost be cut in half. Our plan is targeting our growing middle class and putting their hard-earned dollars back in their pockets, where they belong.

Gov. Evers, on the other hand, is advocating for shifting the tax burden, rather than lowering it. While both our plan and the governor’s have the same outcome of lowering taxes for the middle class, Gov. Evers’ accomplishes this by raising taxes on others. Ours does not.

While I fully support finding ways to cut taxes for our middle class, I don’t believe that harming our small-business owners and local manufacturers — the people who created jobs for almost 18,000 of our friends and neighbors in the last year alone — is a smart move for our economy or state.

We all agree we want to cut taxes. Let’s do it by returning money we already have, rather than increasing taxes for our local businesses.

At the end of the day, it boils down to one simple question: Why choose winners and losers, when our plan shows we have the means for everyone to win?

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