Gov. Scott Walker took shots at Democratic opponent Tony Evers on Tuesday morning in Janesville, calling Evers’ recent proposal to cut taxes a distraction.
“Tony Evers will raise taxes overall. There’s no doubt about it,” Walker said. “He should’ve introduced his plan on Halloween because he’s just masking the fact that his overall plan will raise taxes in this state.”
Walker appeared at Prent Corp. alongside Bryan Steil, the Republican in the 1st Congressional District race. He used the campaign stop to tout Wisconsin’s low unemployment rate and what he said was one of the highest rates of wage growth in the country.
Walker’s stop comes after Evers, the state’s schools superintendent, proposed Sunday a 10 percent income tax cut for individuals making about $100,000 a year.
It also comes after Walker proposed two-thirds funding for schools Monday alongside former Gov. Tommy Thompson. Evers offered the same school funding proposal in August.
Critics of Walker say wage growth has been stagnant despite low unemployment rates. A recent study by the Wisconsin Policy Forum found that 50.8 percent of renters in Walworth County are rent-burdened, while data from United Way show about 40,000 Walworth County residents either live in poverty or are employed but struggling financially.
Britt Cudaback, a spokeswoman for the Evers campaign, fired back at Walker in an email to The Gazette, writing that the governor has spent “eight years putting special interests and campaign donors first.
“Scott Walker thinks helping hardworking families is a stunt. It just goes to show how out of touch typical politician Walker has become,” Cudaback wrote.
Joseph Pregont, president and CEO of Prent, told the crowd of about 25 supporters and workers that Steil’s involvement in industry is a boon for job growth. Steil is general counsel at Charter NEX Films in Milton.
In a brief speech, Steil celebrated Walker’s nearly eight-year tenure as governor, which he said led to economic reforms that encourage job growth and higher wages. Steil has not said if he would support raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Instead, he told reporters Tuesday he would lower taxes and allow businesses to compete as a means to increase pay.
Steil also used the stage to rail against his opponent, Caledonia Democrat and ironworker Randy Bryce. Steil said Bryce’s health care proposal—presumably his support of Medicare for all—would double income and business taxes.
In an emailed response, Bryce campaign spokeswoman Julia Savel said Bryce supports providing affordable health care to working families.
“Meanwhile, Bryan Steil has still refused to call on Scott Walker to remove Wisconsin from the lawsuit that would gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” Savel wrote. “It’s clear which candidate has the best interest of working families in mind.”
Walker’s stop underscores the ongoing clash between the candidates for governor. Walker has tried to position himself as a champion of low taxes and job growth while painting Evers as hungry to increase taxes.
While Evers hasn’t ruled out raising the gas tax, his campaign has denied any intention to increase taxes with its recent proposal and says Walker is just flexing his campaign muscle.
The Evers campaign said the main source of funding for the 10 percent income tax cut would come from capping tax credits to manufacturing and agriculture.
In September, Walker proposed increasing the funding the state gives counties for road projects to 30 percent. Rock County Administrator Josh Smith said the proposal would be welcome, but he said it comes after years of poor transportation funding.