In the Spotlight: Indiana, Wisconsin and Wrongheaded Tax Cuts



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Recent reports and opinion pieces in two states caution lawmakers about the affordability and fairness implications of excessive tax cuts.

In Indiana the Associated Press is reporting on “apprehension about [Governor Elect] Pence’s call for a 10 percent cut in the personal income tax … among top Republican lawmakers.”  Recent corporate income tax cuts, the elimination of the state inheritance tax, and declining gambling revenues have created a thick “fiscal fog,” as Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma describes it, which keeps him from committing to an income tax cut, at least for now.  To see how Pence’s plan would affect Indiana residents of different means, read the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s report: Most of Indiana Tax Rate Cut Would Flow to Upper-Income Taxpayers (PDF).

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is making tax cutting a major priority in 2013. During a major policy speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library he said, “We are working on massive tax reform…. We are going to continue to lower our property taxes.  We are going to put in place an aggressive income tax reduction reform in the state of Wisconsin.” This analysis from the Capital Times reminds us that the Governor really can’t do that much more for small businesses because the tax package he signed into law in his first budget actually eliminated taxes on many businesses altogether. The article also points out that tax cuts cost money -- money the state can ill afford to spend -- and the state’s “economy is sputtering.” If Governor Walker succeeds in making his tax cut proposals a reality, it warns, “something will have to give.”

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