Walker Suggests Boosting Tax Credit For Working Poor

Proposal Increases Maximum Earned Income Tax Credit From $135 To $371

Scott Walker
Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Gov. Scott Walker is proposing to increase a tax credit for Wisconsin’s working poor as part of his initiative to wean people off of state welfare programs.

Walker announced Wednesday that he was proposing increasing the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit from $135 to $371 for low-income workers with one child. He said that would benefit about 130,000 small families and bring about 850 families over the poverty line.

The move to increase the tax credit comes after Walker cut it in 2011. Walker said in a statement that families are the “foundation of our society” and his proposal is vital to his plans to ensure working families are rewarded, not penalized.

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Walker said it’s part of a push to encourage more people to get a job.

”My goal, is by the time I’m done being governor (is) everyone who’s able to work in the state is expected to enter the workforce … This is just one more tool out (of) a big package of multiple things we’re doing to make that happen,” Walker said.

Walker cut the Earned Income Tax Credit five years ago as part of state budget belt-trimming. Democrats say they want the budget the governor will announce next week to provide additional tax relief for working families.

The plan will be part of the state budget Walker releases next week.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, said Thursday that Democrats support the governor’s move for targeted tax relief. However, Shilling also argued Walker’s proposal doesn’t do enough.

“We would also like to see this go further with a tax credit for child care, for example,” Shilling said.

Shilling said Democrats would also like to see a state plan to help graduates struggling with student debt.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include original reporting from WPR.

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