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Democrats Criticize Manufacturing And Agriculture Tax Credit

Supporters Argue Credit Has Spurred Job Growth In Wisconsin

Wisconsin state Capitol
Laura Zimmerman/WPR

Democrats spoke against Wisconsin’s tax cut for manufacturers Tuesday, arguing it has become too expensive for taxpayers.

The state Legislature passed the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit in 2011. It significantly rolls back personal and corporate taxes on manufacturing companies’ income.

According to a new memo from the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office, the credit cost about $262.1 million in 2016-17. It had been estimated to cost about half of that.

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Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee, called the cut “corporate welfare.”

“It couldn’t be more clear that the priority of Republicans is to siphon away every day Wisconsinites hard earned tax dollars to millionaires and billionaires and to pad corporate profits,” Bowen said.

According to the memo, 10,379 people claimed the credit in 2017. Of those,15 individuals earned at least $30 million a year. Their average credit was $1.8 million.

The budget office estimates the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit will cost the state $275.5 million in lost revenues in 2017-2018 and $294.8 million in 2018-2019.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce reiterated their support for the cut on Tuesday. They argue it has been a driving force for job creation in the state.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated with original reporting from WPR at 4:12 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018.

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