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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Gut Check Time in Madison

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At 11 a.m today, State Representative Dale Kooyenga will unveil a major income tax reform proposal that will shake things up in Madison. 

It's gut check time for fiscal conservatives (and those who say they are). Wisconsin is now projected to reap more than a half billion dollars in unexpected revenues and the GOP has large majorities in both houses of the legislature.  

If they can't pass a massive tax cut and reform the tax code now, when could they?

Kooyenga explains the plan:

It’s time to reform the Wisconsin tax code. The tax reform I am introducing this week will cut the Wisconsin tax form from 4 to 2 pages, 20 seldom used and special interest tax credits will be eliminated, and the total number of tax brackets will be reduced to three from the current five brackets. The Joint Finance Committee is headed into the final weeks of reviewing Governor Walker’s budget. The additional revenue estimates, and savings identified by the committee, have resulted a surplus exceeding $740 million. 
The tax reform plan calls for an additional $450 million in tax cuts, which is a fiscally responsible return of tax payer dollars. More importantly, the elimination of certain credits and loopholes result in a fairer tax code, eliminating dozens of injustices that transfer the tax burden from special interests and into Wisconsin’s average tax paying family.
Wisconsin was the first state to enact an income tax in 1911. The complexity of the Wisconsin tax code has exponentially grown as Madison politicians believed the tax code was their magic wand which could be used to accomplish political and social objectives. As a direct result, our tax code picks winners and losers and is one of the most progressive tax codes in the country. 
This tax reform does not cure our tax code of a century’s worth of tampering, but it does... Read the rest.
Here is the analysis of the plan from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, with all the details.

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