WMC bashing tax changes in budget proposal

Gov. Tony Evers budget proposal is drawing praise from most labor and health groups, while the state’s largest business association is bashing provisions to cap a tax credit for manufacturers and limit tax breaks on long-term capital gains.

“This is an anti-business manifesto,” WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer told WisBusiness.com. “This budget proposes raising the cost of doing business on almost every category of business in Wisconsin.”

By eliminating the manufacturing portion of the state’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit, Bauer says Evers budget proposal is “singling out” the state’s top economic sector.

“Gov. Evers wants to give tax cuts to the middle class by taxing the champion of the middle class,” he said. “It’s ironic and it’s just bad policy.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce represents more than 3,800 member companies in the state. Bauer says many of these businesses would be harmed by a number of budget provisions, including one limiting a tax break on long-term capital gains.

Evers proposes eliminating the 30 percent tax break for people earning above a certain amount. Bauer argues this would dampen investment in the state and lead to lower tax collections.

Meanwhile, labor organizations are lauding the governor for including repeal of right-to-work and a return to prevailing wage in his budget proposal.

In his first public appearance after his first budget address, Evers touted these proposals Friday at the Wisconsin AFL-CIO Building Trades Conference in Madison. He told the pro-union audience that his budget will “begin to undo the harm that’s been done to organized labor.”

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, said repealing right-to-work moves the state toward “a healthier middle class” with strong union rights.

“Restoring prevailing wage and the right to a project labor agreement will grow our economy with family-supporting jobs while ensuring our construction projects are completed safely on time and on budget,” Bloomingdale said.

The Milwaukee Area Labor Council is also supporting repeal of right-to-work, saying the last 8 years of Republican control led to the “demonization of the union movement.”

The Wisconsin Laborers District Council, which represents about 9,000 construction workers across the state, is backing the guv’s proposal to increase funding for fixes to road and bridges.

A number of other labor groups have came out in support of Evers budget, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 494, Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council and Wisconsin State Sheet Metal Workers.

On the health care front, the state’s hospital association is optimistic but cautious about Evers’ budget proposal, saying it will take time to understand the potential impacts on health care in the state.

Still, WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding expressed support for provisions that would increase Medicaid reimbursement for hospitals, and continue funding for former Gov. Scott Walker’s “Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan.”

The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Association says several budget items will help people with the disease and their caretakers. And the state chapter of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says proposed funding for tobacco use prevention and cancer screenings will help reduce the state’s overall cancer burden.

But the Wisconsin Dental Association calls the guv’s budget proposal “a mixed bag,” as some provisions could unevenly benefit certain clinics and health systems, the group says.

WDA President Dr. Patrick Tepe says the guv’s plan to boost Medicaid funding “risks creating winners and losers based on geography.” He says larger urban health care groups stand to benefit more than those in rural areas.

See more reaction to Evers’ budget proposal in the WisPolitics.com press release page: http://www.wispolitics.com/2019/03/01/?arcf=cat:19

See details of the proposal here: http://www.wispolitics.com/2019/evers-proposes-8-cent-gas-tax-hike-as-budget-checks-off-string-of-dem-priorities/