Tax Relief

Wisconsin offers tax breaks, however who wins / Public Information Service

MADISON, Wisconsin – Wisconsin’s new biennial budget isn’t getting much attention to its spending regulations. Instead, the focus is on a major tax cut touted by political leaders.

But not everyone accepts it, including the votes for marginalized residents. Governor Tony Evers expressed frustration with the budget overseen by Republican leaders, but maintained $ 2 billion in income tax cuts. Evers and GOP lawmakers say middle class families will benefit.

David Liners, state director of the WISDOM network, a network of mostly religious groups campaigning for social change, doesn’t see it as a lifesaver for most families in Wisconsin.

“The tax cuts themselves will only marginally help middle-income people; they won’t help low-income people at all,” Liners argued. “And they will disproportionately help people who are already doing well.”

He claimed the state missed an opportunity to use available money to fill a variety of loopholes. The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that nearly 75% of the tax breaks go to people who earn more than $ 100,000 a year.

Governor Evers restored $ 100 million in education funding by drawing on federal COVID aid, but Liners and other public school advocates said they are still falling short. And in his area he sees other areas where spending priorities seem out of place.

“We work with a lot of people who come home from prison,” said Liners. “And while we spend a fortune on people who are imprisoned, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for people to seek counseling and treatment.”

At the start of the budget process, GOP leaders also rejected a proposed Medicaid expansion, suggesting that the state might end up paying more if federal incentive dollars were ever run out.

Wisconsin is among a dozen states that have yet to expand Medicaid. Proponents of the expansion say that by persevering, the state is missing out on federal funds that would help tens of thousands of people obtain health insurance.

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ONAMIA, Minnesota – Helping the Minnesota Cambodia escape poverty requires behind the scenes work, often done by community action agencies on tight budgets. Now they are getting a boost in funding, including tribal governments.

Community action agencies offer a variety of services, such as: B. Job placement and rent support. The new state budget increases their annual grant by $ 1 million each year, with tribal nations now receiving an equal share under a revised funding formula.

Tammy Wickstrom, executive director of Aanjibimaadizing, a resource program for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, said they use their annual grants primarily for youth programs, and fairer funding will go a long way.

“We’re really focused on materials and activities that the kids won’t necessarily get in a public school or other setting,” said Wickstrom.

Her agency’s annual grant of $ 25,000 will double. Other local offices say the grants help them help clients beyond traditional needs, such as car insurance costs, so they can travel to a much-needed job.

Many cover multiple counties, and limited resources make it difficult to reach each low-income resident and cater to their particular circumstances.

Senator Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, helped secure the additional funding. He said the agencies are mostly invisible to the public but hopes they will get more attention in the face of the pandemic. At a time of divided government, the Republican describes the budget move as a breakthrough.

“When people think about politics, they see it as sparring and fighting,” Abeler admitted. “But this debate that is going on in politics actually results in agencies like this being committed to people’s work, and they do their job really well, on a pretty meager budget.”

Annie Shapiro, advocacy director for the Minnesota Community Action Partnership, which oversees local agencies, said the surge came after years of funding cuts for the grant, noting that the extra money can help keep the agencies working in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“This was really a special moment when the agencies took action to make sure people could be housed safely, to make sure people had access to food,” Shapiro said.

She added that they can now focus on longer-term recovery efforts for low-income Minnesotans. Disclosure: The Minnesota Community Action Association Resource Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on early childhood education, health issues, housing / homelessness, and poverty. If you would like to support news in the public interest, click here.

Disclosure: The Minnesota Community Action Association Resource Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on early childhood education, health issues, housing / homelessness, and poverty issues. If you would like to support news in the public interest, click here.

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RALEIGH, NC – Conservation groups commend the Senate’s latest budget proposal, which will allocate more than $ 100 million to the state’s Land and Water Fund, Park and Recreation Fund, and Farmland Conservation Trust Fund.

The budget also includes federally funded grants of $ 1.5 billion for businesses affected by the pandemic, more than $ 1 billion for water and sewer rehabilitation, and $ 700 million for rural broadband expansion.

Tim Gestwicki, chief executive officer of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, said the money comes at a time when the demand for outdoor recreational activities is increasing and he believes it will only keep increasing.

“Hunting licenses increased by 20% last year, fishing licenses exploded – more than 90% more licenses,” said Gestwicki. “That is why the financing of nature conservation is absolutely crucial.”

North Carolina’s state park system had a record number of more than 19 million visitors during the 2020 pandemic, despite being closed for six weeks, according to Land for Tomorrow group.

The House lawmakers will now work out their own plan, and eventually a final version will be sent to Governor Roy Cooper.

North Carolina Conservation Fund director and chairman of the Land for Tomorrow group, Bill Holman, said this was the largest increase in state funding for conservation and outdoor recreation in more than a decade.

“So I think lawmakers are partly responding to public calls for more opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Holman said.

Gestwicki added that outdoor recreation remains a major engine of the state’s economy, accounting for approximately $ 28 billion in consumer spending annually.

“We are pleased that the Senate recognized the need to support our green infrastructure as North Carolina is certainly one of the fastest developing states in the country,” said Gestwicki, “and people come for our climate and our mountains, and so on.” our coasts. “

The Senate budget also includes $ 40 million for state parks water and sanitation projects, $ 9 million for Pisgah View State Park, and $ 15 million for state historic sites.

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The most recent American tax justice poll found that rural voters overwhelmingly support the idea that businesses and the rich pay more taxes, or as it is often said, “their fair share”.

The American Jobs Plan includes several changes to tax laws only for the highest-income Americans, many of whom now pay little or no tax. It would raise the income tax rate from 37% to 39.6% for those with annual income above $ 452,000 and change the taxation of capital gains and stock dividends for millionaires.

Dr. Jessie Ice, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, believes the changes would do enough to support greater investments in health care, infrastructure, clean energy and education.

“If corporations paid their fair share of the taxes, our nation could afford to pay for programs that help working families struggling daily to make ends meet,” said Ice.

According to the poll, 63% of rural voters are in favor of increasing taxes for the wealthy and businesses in general, 59% are in favor of increasing taxes for those who earn more than $ 400,000 a year, and 55% are in favor of increasing the Corporation tax rate to 28%.

Kelly Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, referred to research by ProPublica that showed the net worth of the 25 richest Americans rose by a total of $ 400 billion between 2014 and 2018.

During those years, she found, they paid a 3.4% tax rate, well below the lowest federal tax bracket.

Allen said the poll highlights the country’s two-tier tax system.

“One is for the common people, the working people, the vast majority of us who make our living through wages. And then the other is for the very, very rich, who own most of their money by owning the publicly traded.” Earning assets, privately owned companies or other forms of capital, “explained Allen.

She added that President Joe Biden’s proposed tax changes would affect less than 1% of taxpayers nationwide and only about 600 West Virginians.

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