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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher July 12, 2013

Passage of budget puts this promise in the books

The 2013-'15 state budget that Gov. Scott Walker signed into law June 30, 2013 included a $651 million income tax cut for the two-year period.


That goes directly to his 2010 campaign pledge to lower the income tax.

The budget cuts rates across the board and reduces the number of income tax brackets from five to four.

Here"s a breakdown of state income tax rates for married couples filing jointly, from the Wisconsin Budget Project, which is part of the liberal advocacy group Wisconsin Council on Children and Families:

Taxable income

Tax rate/Previous law

Tax rate/New budget

Up to $14,000

4.6 percent

4.4 percent

$14,000 to $29,000

6.15 percent

5.85 percent

$29,000 to $215,000

6.5 percent

6.27 percent

$215,000 to $315,000

6.75 percent

6.27 percent

$315,000 and over

7.75 percent

7.65 percent

Tamarine Cornelius, an analyst with the budget project, said that despite the tax cuts in the 2013-'15 budget, some low-income people have seen an increase in the income taxes they pay, and others are getting smaller income tax refunds, because of the change in the earned income tax credit in the 2011-'13 budget.

(Based partly on the tax credit change, which is regarded as a tax increase by the nonpartisan state Legislative Fiscal Bureau, we gave Walker a Promise Broken on his pledge to oppose and veto all tax increases.)


But given the across-the-board cuts in tax rates and the reduced revenue that will result from the 2013-'15 budget, we move our rating on this pledge to Promise Kept.

Our Sources

By Dave Umhoefer April 4, 2013

May be headed toward compromise

Two of Gov. Scott Walker's actions come into play in evaluating his general promise in 2009 to "lower the income tax.”

In his new two-year budget unveiled in February 2013, Walker proposed a small reduction in income tax rates in the three bottom brackets.

The cut, totaling $343 million over two years, would not affect the top two income brackets. But wealthier taxpayers would still benefit from these cuts because they are applied to their first $214,910 of taxable income, as the Journal Sentinel reported.

The Republican-controlled Legislature will take the budget up in spring 2013.

Walker, however, has not followed through on his pledge to erase the new income-tax bracket for high-earners set up by Democrats during the tenure of Gov. Jim Doyle, his predecessor. The 2009 move created a 7.75 percent tax bracket for single taxpayers with incomes of $225,000 and more, and for married couples filing jointly with incomes of $300,000 and more. Those income levels have changed a bit since then.

We gave Walker a Promise Broken for not moving to repeal the tax on the wealthy.

The overall promise to lower the income tax appears headed for a Compromise label if the Legislature approves an income tax cut.

For now, we rate this In the Works.

Our Sources

Walk-O-Meter on repeal of Doyle taxes

Email interview with Jocelyn Webster, Walker communications director, March 22, 2013


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