There was more partisan wrangling at the Capitol on Thursday, over Governor Scott Walker’s special session bills. Business owners would be eligible for a tax deduction for every new job they add over the next two years, under terms of a bill approved by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), said the credit won’t accomplish much. “This is a $67 million dollar blankie to the business community, for what amounts to a very small and fiscally insignificant benefit to that small business man,” said Jauch, predicting the tax break “won’t impact their decisions one bit.”
Jauch questioned how many employers would really take on the expense of new hires for the deduction, which could be as little as $2,000. But Joint Finance Committee co-chair, Representative Robin Vos (R-Burlington) said the bills approved by the panel this week will have a beneficial effect when taken in aggregate. “None of these bills are a silver bullet, but putting them all together, they are helpful in the way that they are an antidote to the ailment that is Wisconsin,” said Vos. “And I am confident that as we move into the future that these bills, along with many others that we bring up . . . will move us in the right direction.”
Jauch, a Democrat on the joint finance committee, argued the package of tax incentives that panel voted on this week are just digging a deeper deficit hole. “And that schools are going to be jeopardized, health care programs are going to be threatened, and that citizens who pay taxes in this state – including small businessmen – are going to come back and say ‘we don’t like those choices either,’ that ‘cutting those programs isn’t what we thought when were cutting big government.'”
But Vos argued the state has to grow its way out of the deficit. “I think having us be a partner (with Governor Walker) with legislation like this is the exact right message we want to send,” said Vos. He said the governor will address the state’s deficit in his budget.