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At the federal and state level, citizens are being sold a bill of goods.  They are being told that tax breaks for the wealthy will help the average American.  They are being told that government wastes too much money on fruitless efforts – so spending should be frozen.  We have heard this story so often that we begin to believe it.  It’s time to look at that story and see the truth. 

The Bush budget starves those areas that average citizens need and want – whether it is funding an accurate election system to providing adequate federal funds for Medicaid.  Bush has said he will “leave no child behind” but severely cuts funds to support those educational requirements.  There are many reasons to oppose the Bush budget.  Here are a few:

·         The full cost of the tax cuts in the President's budget - including making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent and continuing relief for the Alternative Minimum Tax -- is more than $2 trillion over the next ten years, including the associated interest costs. 

·         The benefits would go overwhelmingly to the very rich.  Millionaires would receive average annual tax cuts of $125,000  - an amount that exceeds the annual income of 90 percent of tax filers.

·         The proposed budget includes proposals for radical and one-sided new budget rules -- masquerading as "reform" -- that would pervert the budget process.  In particular, the President's budget would require that any future improvements in entitlement programs (such as Medicare, school lunches, veterans programs, and health insurance programs for low-income children and families) be "paid for" while new tax breaks would not have to be offset.

·         Legislation to provide additional tax breaks for the wealthy or to create additional corporate tax shelters would not have to be paid for.  But refundable tax credits targeted to low- and moderate- income Americans would not be treated the same as other tax expenditures under these proposed rule -- they would have to be paid for out of entitlement cuts.

The Bush Budget continues to redistribute income to the wealthiest while bleeding those programs that benefit the majority—education, healthcare and even homeland security.

At the state level, it is a similar story.  AJR 55, the misnamed “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” would change the Wisconsin Constitution to limit spending at the state and local levels and make it impossible to make our tax system more fair.  Currently, because of tax loopholes and exemptions, the average tax payer is paying a far larger share of the tax bill through income and property taxes than they did 30 years ago.  We need to clean up that system first.  Wisconsin Citizen Action testified against that bill - See testimony (pdf)

 

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