WAUKESHA — Dem guv candidate Tony Evers insisted Saturday he isn’t reversing his position by pledging this week that he won’t raise taxes.
Evers in the past has said “everything is on the table” when asked about a gas tax increase and is proposing a cap on the state’s Manufacturing and Agricultural Tax credit, which now has no limit.
Asked by WisPolitics.com about the issue following a Waukesha rally today, Evers called Gov. Scott Walker’s assertion that he would raise the gas tax by $1 “absolutely ridiculous,” said his school funding plan would be revenue neutral and noted that he’s proposing a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class.
“I’ve always been consistent,” Evers said. “This isn’t backtracking at all. I’m going forward with my plan, and I believe that Scott Walker is, frankly, lying about this. But that’s his problem, not mine.”
Evers is proposing to limit the manufacturing and ag tax credit to the first $300,000 of income. The credit is expected to lower state revenues by $334 million in 2018-19, and Evers’ campaign estimates it would be reduced to $40 million a year under his proposal. That money would then be used to fund much of the $340 million his campaign estimates middle-class families would save under his proposed 10 percent income tax break.
Pressed about his proposed $300,000 cap on the Manufacturing and Agricultural Tax credit, Evers said the credit will continue.
“Anybody in the state of Wisconsin that gets that credit now will continue to get it. There’s a $300,000 max. I mean for gosh sakes, there’s not many farmers that are making $300,000 a year,” Evers sid. “Those people will be covered by the ag and manufacturing tax credit.”
But Evers sidestepped when asked if his budget would be tax neutral.
“My budget hasn’t formed yet,” Evers said. “But it is our goal to make sure that the people of Wisconsin get what they deserve.”
Walker’s campaign accused Evers of “political double talk” on taxes, calling it embarrassing.
“Tony Evers can try to fool taxpayers but it won’t erase his long paper trail of proposing policies that will raise taxes — or the video evidence,” said Walker spokesman Austin Altenberg.
Walker’s campaign pointed to past media coverage of Evers saying “everything is on the table” for the gas tax and that he was open to a variety of tax increases in order to lower the burden on working families and pay for road work.
Following his stop in Waukesha, Evers criticized Walker, saying his policies have led to voters raising their own property taxes to support schools and municipalities to adopt wheel taxes to pay for roads.
“He’s the one that has increased taxes and also pushed it to the local level,” Evers said.
Before speaking with reporters, Evers addressed a crowd of about 100 on a chilly evening outside the Waukesha County Democratic Party’s office.
Standing on a wooden porch on the side of the large converted house, Evers to frequent applause pledged to give teachers and other public workers a say in their working conditions, invest an additional $1.4 billion in K-12 education, accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, protect those with pre-existing health conditions and bring science back to the Department of Natural Resources.
“The people in Wisconsin are ready for a change,” Evers said. “It is time for a change.”
Evers, who arrived on a large yellow school bus, was joined on the stage by his running mate Mandela Barnes, attorney general candidate Josh Kaul and treasurer candidate Sarah Godlewski.
Each made their pitch to voters and volunteers, asking for help in encouraging people to vote for the Dem ticket by knocking on doors and making calls as Tuesday approaches.