Political scientist: tax cuts likely centerpiece of Governor's S - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: State of the State speech preview

Posted: Updated: Jan 20, 2014 04:45 PM

MADISON, Wisconsin (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker will deliver his annual state of the state address Wednesday night to a joint session of the legislature.

The speech, set for 7 p.m., is likely to feature some sort of tax cut proposal, said UW-Madison political science professor Barry Burden.

The non-partisan, legislative fiscal bureau estimated last week the state would end the current budget cycle with an extra $912-million in revenue. Walker has hinted he would like to see at least some of that returned to taxpayers.

"It sounds like the speech will be emphasizing tax cuts," Burden said. "Income tax cuts, property tax cuts, those are ways to appeal to middle class families who maybe are on the fence about him."

Burden, who said the speech is also likely to feature proposals on issues like education, job creation and transportation, estimated about 10 percent of the state's electorate is up for grabs this November when Walker will be up for re-election.

Former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke, who served as the state's commerce secretary under Governor Jim Doyle, is Walker's likely Democratic opponent.

"If you look at, overall, all the money that state and local governments bring in from the people of Wisconsin, we're more in the middle," Burke told a gathering of Madison's East Side Progressives on Sunday night. 

Burke was responding to a question from someone at the meeting who asked how she planned to win over more conservative, anti-tax voters.

"In terms of a state, we're not a high tax and fee state," she said.

Burke did not take a position on tax cut proposal anticipated to come in the Governor's speech this week.

But Joe Fadness, the Executive Director of Wisconsin's GOP, said a tax cut will further ramp up a state economy already heading in the right direction due to Walker's policies.

"Look at what we've done over the last few years," Fadness said. "Governor Walker took a $3.6-billion budget deficit left behind and turned it into a nearly 1$-billion surplus." 

"Jobs are coming back, more than 10-thousand businesses have been created and employer confidence is at 95 percent," he said.

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