Reduce taxes on employers

 "I want to lower the tax on employers, lower the tax on income, freeze property taxes and phase out retirement income taxes. States that have a lower tax burden have more jobs and better budgets, and its time Wisconsin was a better state to do business.”

Subjects: Taxes


Income tax cut moves this one to Promise Kept as well

By signing the 2013-'15 state budget June 30, 2013, Gov. Scott Walker acted on his promise to reduce taxes on employers.

As we've noted previously on this pledge, Walker had already approved measures to cut taxes for small businesses; remove all income taxes for two years for businesses that move to Wisconsin; and phase out the state tax on the production earnings of manufacturers and agricultural businesses to almost nothing by 2016.

With the new budget, the state cuts rates across all individual income tax brackets and reduces the number of income tax brackets from five to four.

That's relevant because many business owners run their profits through the individual tax system.

When we previously evaluated this promise, we noted the progress Walker had made and said that until he signed an income tax cut, we'd rate the promise In the Works. We now move the rating to Promise Kept.


Wisconsin Budget Project, "An overview of taxes and revenue in the 2013-15 budget,” July 3, 2013

CCH Group, "Wisconsin -- Multiple taxes: Enacted budget bill includes rate cuts, many other tax provisions,” July 2, 2013

Email interview, Gov. Scott Walker press secretary Tom Evenson, July 11, 2013

Email interview, Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance president Todd Berry, July 11, 2013

Some progress, more needed before it's kept

In his two-year budget unveiled in February 2013, Walker proposed a small reduction in income tax rates in the three bottom brackets. The proposal affected the tax code for individuals, not corporate income taxes. But many business owners run their profits through the individual tax system.

The cut, totalling $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.

Walker's proposal was making its way through the legislative budget process in spring 2013.

In 2011, Walker offered a scaled-back small-business tax cut with a lower price tag than the plan he offered during the 2010 campaign. The Legislature modified it so businesses with sales of up to $5 million annually receive a tax deduction of $4,000 for each job they create. Businesses with sales of more than $5 million a year receive a deduction of $2,000 for each job they create, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Walker signed the bill and we rated that a Compromise on the Walk-O-Meter.

We rated as a Promise Kept his signing of a bill in 2011 that provided a total personal income or corporate tax break for two years for businesses that relocate here.

He also signed a bill inserted into his first budget by GOP lawmakers that phases out the state tax on the production earnings of manufacturers and agricultural businesses to almost nothing by 2016. That fulfilled a Walker promise on cutting manufacturing taxes, we found.

Also in 2011, Walker signed a corporate income tax holiday of two years for businesses that relocate to Wisconsin from another state or another country.

Overall, Walker has made progress on several fronts on lowering taxes on employers.

For now, until he signs the income tax cut, we'll keep this at In the Works.


Walker campaign news release, Feb. 23, 2010

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Scott Walker"s budget to lower income tax rates,” Feb. 20, 2013

Special session agenda includes two bills that would cut business taxes

Gov. Scott Walker"s legislative proposal for the special session in January 2011 included a bill that would exempt businesses from income and franchise taxes for two years, in cases where the firms have done business in Wisconsin for 10 years or more.

The introduction of the measure puts him partially down the road toward cutting taxes on employers. Likewise, a separate provision for a small-business tax cut carves out another niche of employer tax cuts.

Walker so far has not made a proposal for an across-the-board business tax cut.

For now, we rate this one as In the Works.


Governor Scott Walker, executive order, Jan. 3, 2011

JSOnline.com, Walker pledges frugal spending, Jan. 3, 2011