Walker’s Budget Proposes Millions in Breaks for Special Interest Contributors

March 16, 2017

Taxes

Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed 2017-19 state budget contains millions of dollars in lower fees and taxes for business, construction, agriculture, health care and utility interests, which contributed $10.2 million to his campaign over the past five years.

Here are some of those breaks, which must also be approved during the GOP-controlled legislature’s consideration of the budget in the coming months.

Increasing the angel and early stage investment tax credits by $5.4 million over two years for certain new businesses;

Providing $6.3 million in 2018-19 to pay for additional economic development grants awarded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.;

Creating a $2 million sales tax exemption over two years for certain retailers for prepared food made off-site, frozen and then sold;

Increasing the current sales tax exemption for lump-sum construction contracts by $2.75 million over two years so it applies to all construction contracts and subcontractors;

Repealing the ambulatory surgical center assessment, which is used to partially fund the Medical Assistance program, saving medical centers and hospitals $5 million annually;

Effectively reducing agricultural pesticide application licenses and commercial feed surcharges by about $4.5 million over the next two years;

Repealing the state’s stray voltage program, which will save certain electric utilities about $850,000 a year in fees to fund it. The program identifies and resolves electricity problems on farms that affect livestock and milk production.