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Walker gave his annual State of the State address to a joint meeting of the Legislature Tuesday night, highlighting programs and spending priorities over the last three years he says have been successful and bringing up on stage some of those who have gotten a job while he's been governor. Walker said a $911 million anticipated surplus is evidence of a strong and growing economy.
"The state of our state is strong and improving every day," Walker said.
The governor is asking lawmakers to approve a more than $500 million tax cut plan, including $400 million in property tax cuts accomplished by paying down technical college levies. He wants to direct a nearly $100 million cut to income taxes, reducing tax rates in the lowest tax bracket. The cuts amount to a $101 property tax cut for the average Wisconsin homeowner and a $58 income tax cut for a family of four. He also directed the revenue secretary Wednesday to change tax withholding tables.
"This will put more money in the hands of consumers and will continue to stimulate the economy," Walker said. "Starting in April a typical working family of four will see $57.90 more in their paychecks each month."
The governor addressed those who have criticized his ideas already, saying the money will help expand the economy. Some lawmakers have said the surplus should pay down a structural deficit, and Walker's plan actually increases that deficit by $100 million.
"The best way to prepare for the future is by continuing to grow our economy not by keeping more money in Madison," Walker said. "With a rainy-day fund seven times larger than we've ever had before I took office, now is the time to send your money back to you, the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin."
Two other initiatives talked about in the speech include a year-long effort to highlight companies hiring those with disabilities and a $35 million expansion of job training programs
Walker is expected to run for reelection this year, and his opponent says she'd differ slightly in her approach with the funds.
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