Walker says tax change will be $2,508 cut for typical family

Posted at 4:54 PM, Dec 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 12:46:07-05

Gov. Scott Walker's administration on Wednesday calculated that the typical family of four in Wisconsin will get a $2,508 tax cut under the Republican tax overhaul signed into law last week.

The analysis drew criticism from Democrats and others who said Walker's Department of Revenue cherry picked the most favorable numbers to cast the tax cut in the best light possible.

Walker's analysis looked only at the impact on a typical family of four with two children eligible for an expanded child care tax credit. He did not offer any numbers showing the impact on other families with more or fewer qualifying children, or on single filers or couples with no children.

The governor said in a news release that the Revenue Department was still looking at the full impact of the new law on Wisconsin taxpayers. The changes take effect on income earned in 2018 for taxes that will be paid in 2019.

Walker's analysis also did not look at what happens beyond the first year of the tax cut. Multiple analyses of the law have found that middle class tax cuts will gradually fade and then morph into tax hikes as individual tax cuts expire after 2025.

Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance president Todd Berry said the biggest problem with Walker's analysis is that it chose a two-income, two-child family which is no longer "typical."

"The largest number of filers in Wisconsin are single," Berry said. "And, among those who file jointly, two kids of tax credit age are less and less the norm."

The analysis does show the positive impact of doubling the child care tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000, Berry said. It also shows that for many taxpayers, the process of filing a return will get simpler as they will take the $24,000 standard deduction over itemizing state and local taxes, the deduction of which will now be capped at $10,000.

Democrats argued that the biggest problem is the GOP tax plan benefits corporations and the wealthy more than the middle class.

"It's the unfairness of the plan that is the flaw," said Scot Ross, director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now. "When you have $1.5 trillion in deficit spending, certainly some cherry picked families will come out ahead for a little while."

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said Democrats "want to restore tax fairness and create a better deal for communities, children and working families."

But Walker stood by the analysis, touting the family of four's projected $2,508 tax cut.

"That's $200 a month more in the pockets of the typical Wisconsin family," Walker said. "That's real money."