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FROSTMAN COLUMN: Evers credits himself for cutting taxes when he wanted them raised
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FROSTMAN COLUMN: Evers credits himself for cutting taxes when he wanted them raised

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There’s always one guy on the football team. He knows how to add himself to the pile, trying to be positioned just right, hoping the announcer will give him credit for the tackle. He had nothing to do with it, but is eager to take credit for something he didn’t do.

Years later, you encounter this same behavior in a group effort. There’s often one in the group who didn’t do diddly, but is the first one in line to take the props.

When it comes to the political world, you see elected officials trying to take credit for something which they had opposed. Wisconsin is graced to be served by an individual who has the ability to seek credit and praise for something he had no part in creating in our Gov. Tony Evers.

Remember our conversations on the state budget? Gov. Evers’ original budget proposal called for more than $1 billion in tax hikes, and a more than 9% increase in state spending in the two-year budget cycle. No income tax reductions in the governor’s initial budget proposal. The budget was so bad the Republican-led Joint Committee on Finance tossed the 1,847-page monstrosity of a liberal wish list, and constructed a budget that would work for all citizens of Wisconsin.

The non-partisan MacIver Institute provided a comprehensive review of the 2021-23 Wisconsin State Budget, summarizing many key provisions. A total of $3.4 billion in tax cuts were in the budget approved by both the Assembly and Senate.

The most simple and tangible tax cut from which nearly all Wisconsinites will benefit is a reduction in the income tax rate which “[lowered] the third income tax bracket rate from 6.27% down to 5.3% on income between $24,250 a year and $266,930 a year.” The MacIver analysis stated, “this will save Wisconsin taxpayers an eye-popping $2.4 billion.” This is the savings realized over the two-year budget cycle. Often times tax savings proposals are a bit less obvious, but most folks across the Badger state will see this tax cut very plainly.

There are other provisions to like in the budget as well regarding tax cuts, but time and space limit the amount of analysis herein. Public schools complained about per-pupil increases.

It is important to note the incredible influx of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief or ESSER funds significantly altering budgets of school districts across the country. According to legislative sources, a proposed $550 million deposit to the state’s “rainy day” fund to assist in protecting districts in the future was vetoed by the governor. It will be important for school districts to be mindful the outpouring of what they perceive as free government money will end, and they need to prepare accordingly. Be prepared for more shouts of poverty from districts lacking any preparedness.

It is important to know which local legislators stood firm in their opposition of you having more of your own money in your pocket. Assembly Democrat Dave Considine (D-Baraboo), and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point), voted against the budget. Erpenbach was on the Joint Finance Committee and routinely fought against income tax cuts. Remember those folks next November and send them packing.

Gov. Evers signed the budget, taking out a few key provisions, leaving in the tax cuts. In a move of tremendous hubris, Evers made a feeble attempt to take credit for reducing your taxes. His well-reported comment was, “I promised I would cut taxes for middle-class families by 10%, today, I am keeping my word.”

What did you say? Evers, it was your idea to raise taxes, and now you wish to take credit for cutting them? Good grief. The people of Wisconsin know better, and it is shameful to take credit for something you didn’t do. When pressed for an answer, Evers’ response was “I signed the budget, simple as that.”

It is truly pathetic for Evers to try to take credit for lowering taxes, when he wanted to jack them up, and it will be fundamentally important for every citizen of Wisconsin to remember his outright fabrication next November.

Members of the Joint Finance Committee, notably co-chairs Sen. Howard Marklein of Spring Green and Rep. Mark Born of Beaver Dam, along with Sen. Joan Ballweg of Markesan and Rep. Tony Kurtz of Wonewoc, deserve the true credit for delivering a solid budget for the next two years that puts money in your pocket. A couple of Democrats did see the light, so it gets called “bi-partisan.” We know where the work was done. When you see your state income tax refund grow next year, and potentially a smaller property tax bill, say thank you to the legislative Republicans who delivered for Wisconsin.

Scott Frostman lives in Baraboo, and has roots throughout Wisconsin. Opinions herein are exclusively his own. He believes anyone can make a difference and can be reached at scfrostman@gmail.com.

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