Budget cuts taxes for families, small businesses
With so much time, effort and energy invested over the last few months, it’s hard to believe that the state budget is already “old news.” Even before the governor’s signature on the budget was dry, the attention of policy makers, the public and the media had begun to turn to other important issues before the Legislature.
But the final details deserve another look because a number of provisions have a real dollars-and-cents impact on Wisconsin families.
For the last few weeks, a number of stories on the budget have focused on the billions of dollars in proposed taxes that were either eliminated or reduced in the final agreement. That’s an important story, of course; getting rid of more than $16 billion in proposed tax hikes was no easy task, and it saves people from paying more on everything from gas to hospital visits to iPod downloads. However, focusing only on the tax changes that were not included in the budget has the unfortunate effect of overlooking those that were, including millions in tax cuts targeted to families and small businesses.
Last week, a national report confirmed that Wisconsin is one of the least affordable states for child care. To help with these costs, the new budget includes a tax deduction for child care expenses, which will total more than $15.9 million when fully implemented.
To help fight the rising cost of health care, the new budget makes health insurance premiums tax-deductible. When fully implemented, this deduction will save Wisconsin families an extra $150 million every year.
The existing tax deduction for college tuition was raised and expanded, as well, including college fees on top of tuition for the first time.
Behind every family and every tax return is the strength of our state’s economy. A healthy economy keeps jobs available and sustains working families, moving Wisconsin forward in an ever-changing and ever-expanding marketplace. When businesses raise pay or add new jobs to their payroll, everybody wins.
Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s tax code includes a number of barriers to businesses, including a penalty for companies that add jobs in Wisconsin. The new budget eliminates that “jobs tax” and goes in the other direction, expanding the Angel Investment Tax Credit Program by nearly $8 million. Angel investors are businesses that invest in the best and brightest entrepreneurs, based for the most part on the East and West coasts. This tax-credit program gives an incentive for these investors to take a look at Wisconsin businesses, as well.
In every year since 1980, Wisconsin has been one of the 10 highest-taxed states in the nation. My fellow Republicans and I have been working to erase that dubious distinction, and we’ve been able to pass significant victories, including those listed above.
The budget debate may be cooled for now, but there’s still work to be done. Taxes are still too high in Wisconsin, and we will continue working to lower the tax burden of our families and job-creating small businesses.
Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, represents the 94th state Assembly District. Phone 1-888-534-0094 or e-mail Rep.Huebsch@legis.wisconsin.gov.