UPDATE: Governor Walker delivers 2-year budget address - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Governor Walker delivers 2-year budget address


MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) says his 2013-15 biennial budget is designed to cut both income and property taxes, while moving move more low-income people off of government programs.  But it would also increase both the cost and size of the state government.

He set the tone for his budget address to the State Legislature Wednesday night, with one simple sentence.

"Bottom line, I want more freedom and prosperity for all," said Gov. Walker.
That would start with an income tax cut, averaging just over $100 dollars a year for all individuals earning up to $162,000 and all married couples making below $215,000.

"It is only right that we put more money back into your hands.  Over the next decade, this will lower income taxes $1.7 billion," said Gov. Walker.

But Democrats say the tax break should be more targeted to lower middle-class workers.

"We're gonna see the breakdown, but if you want to do a true middle-class tax cut, if you want to invest in the middle class, then you should invest in those household incomes that are around $50,000," said Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), who gave the Democratic response.

The budget also slightly trims state property taxes.

But the Governor did not talk about the fact that his proposal grows the cost and size of state government as well, adding more than $1.5 billion and 710 new full-time state positions over the next two years.

It would result in a structural deficit of $2.6 billion by the end of fiscal year 2015.

But top Walker staffers say that projection doesn't take into account new revenues and cost savings the new state jobs will create.

In the areas of education and Medicaid reform, the Governor doubled-down on his promise for more voucher schools and fewer people on BadgerCare, state-run health insurance for Medicaid recipients.

"We're talking about empowering people to control their own destiny with a job in the private sector where they can pursue their dreams. This is what truly leads to freedom and prosperity," said Gov. Walker.

Democrats say the Governor should listen harder to his own message.

"The Governor said of education tonight, 'we should not pour more money into institutions that are failing to meet expectations, if they continue down the same path.  We should encourage a corrective action plan.'  I would like to encourage the Governor, to apply that same standard to his own administration and this budget," said Rep. Mason.

The Governor's budget now moves on to the state legislature for approval.


MADISON (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker is proposing an income tax cut that would save a family of four earning about $80,600 annually $212 over two years.

Walker unveiled details of the $343 million income tax cut in the budget he delivered to state lawmakers on Wednesday.

His plan includes no general sales tax increases and would keep property tax levy limits in place so the projected increase statewide on the median valued home is less than 1 percent.

The tax cut would lower rates for income up to $161,180 for individuals and $214,910 for married couples filing jointly.

Walker says that cut targets the middle class and will help the state's economy grow.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker will deliver his two-year budget address Wednesday night.

The budget plan includes an income tax cut, an expansion of private school vouchers and a tightening of Medicaid eligibility. Walker has been touring the state the last week, announcing bits and pieces of his budget plan, but he'll release more details during a speech to the full Legislature.

The plan will be debated by the Legislature's budget committee over the next four months, then voted on by both the Senate and Assembly sometime before it takes effect in July.

While he has promised the budget will include a middle class income tax cut, Walker has yet to give the details of how that will be structured.

The Governor's address is at 7:00 p.m. Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will be there and we'll have full coverage for you on www.wkow.com and on 27 News at 10.


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