Candidate Fitzgerald Playing Tax Cut Parlor Games

Actual state income tax revenues for the current fiscal budget period are now expected to exceed the budgeted revenues by $753 million. Under the current budget some of the excess will go toward technical training and additional funds going to pay down the state’s current debt. The balance would accrue to the state’s rainy day fund: about $650 million.

But as a candidate of the Wisconsin 5th CD, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is counting our chickens before they are hatched. These are projected additional revenues…not cash in hand. But never mind…let’s do another tax cut and give it back to the taxpayers.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is floating the possibility of a new tax cut as he launches a campaign for a seat in Congress representing the deeply conservative 5th Congressional District. 

Fitzgerald said in an appearance Sunday on WISN (Channel 12) promoting his run for Congress that if the state has enough socked away he would like to put Wisconsin families “in a much better position” through a tax cut.

“I think we’re going to be able to do it,” Fitzgerald said.

Now as a taxpayer I have no issue with more money in my wallet…but my memory isn’t so short that I have forgotten the Great Recession of just 10 years ago and the other slowdowns and recessions over the past 50 years. There are reasons that we have rainy day funds…and fiscally conservative politicians should know that. I’d rather do without a few cents right now than have to suffer tax increases, additional state debt, or new service cuts during a future recession when I won’t have any extra money either.

And given that many economists are predicting another recession in 2020 or 2021…and the Fed has cut rates twice recently to stave off a slowdown that they foresee…and the president continues his trade war…I’d wouldn’t mind if Madison had $650 million in the bank.

And as a little side story:

Evers said in May he would use $56 million of the additional money to immediately pay pay off debt, which he said would save millions in the long run, and another $33 million on technical colleges and worker training. The rest — more than $650 million — would be placed in the state’s rainy-day fund under Evers’ plan. 

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said in May he wants all of the $753 million to be put in the fund in case the economy softens. 

Aides to Evers, Nygren and Democratic legislative leaders Sen. Jennifer Shilling and Rep. Gordon Hintz did not immediately have a reaction Sunday to Fitzgerald’s proposal. 

So this looks like a campaign stunt on the part of the senator and not good fiscal policy.

And maybe we should sock that money away for that day we need to start paying out those incentives to…you know…Foxconn [sarcasm].


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