Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Neumann Finds Ally in Gard for Irresponsible Tax Cuts Paid for By Health Care Cuts

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2010

Madison -- Former GOP U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann has found a willing advocate in divisive former GOP Assembly Speaker and twice-failed congressional candidate, John Gard, for his irresponsible tax plan that would slash income taxes only for the top one percent of income earners and reopen the corporate loophole for bankers and big business. Gard, a former business lobbyist who surrendered his license just hours ago, has endorsed Neumann's campaign for governor.

"John Gard is the perfect ambassador for Mark Neumann's irresponsible tax cuts for the rich and big business," said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. "Neumann has a history of paying for tax cuts for the rich by slashing health care for seniors and John Gard has almost as much experience."

Among the bills Gard's organization lobbied in favor of during his revolving door from the Capitol to the lobbying corps was reopening the "Las Vegas Loophole," which allows big businesses to set up phantom post office boxes in states without corporate income tax to avoid their tax obligations to the people of Wisconsin. [2009 AB478]

As a member of Congress, Neumann joined disgraced ex-speaker Newt Gingrich in voting for a tax cut plan for the wealthy that slashed Medicare by $270 billion and $180 billion from Medicaid. [HR 2491, 10/26/95; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10/27/1995]

Wisconsin faces a projected $2 billion deficit, according to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, making Neumann's tax cut plan for big business and the rich impossible without radical cuts to critical programs like health care, education and public safety.

Despite the grave budget projection, Neumann has repeated several specific budget-busting schemes as the cornerstone of his agenda for Wisconsin, which would require $1 billion in cuts over the biennium. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker has also called for identical tax cuts, including:

Slash income taxes for the top one percent of income earners who make more than $225,000 a year.

Reopen the "Las Vegas Loophole" which allows Wisconsin businesses to shelter their tax obligations to Wisconsin families through phantom "offices" in states without corporate income tax.

Repeal changes made to the capital gains tax deduction, despite the fact 70 percent of capital gains filings are from those earning more than $200,000 a year. [Legislative Fiscal Bureau 2/23/09, 7/8/09]

As a long-time member of the state Assembly, Gard specifically placed health care cuts as a convenient way to pay for irresponsible conservative tax policies, including:

As Speaker of the State Assembly, John Gard led the Republican effort to cut Wisconsin's successful prescription drug plan for the elderly, SeniorCare, by $10 million. [2003 SB44]

As Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee, John Gard attempted to suspend enrollment in BadgerCare, the state's health insurance program for working families. [Capital Times, 12/18/02

Gard voted against a bill that would have expanded the state's Healthy Start program and provided 130,000 more low-income women and children with health care coverage. [1994 AB1161]

Gard voted against a bill that would have expanded the state's subsidized health care insurance program for unemployed and low-income workers. [1993 AB1162]

"Mark Neumann and Scott Walker have made tax cuts for the rich and big business the cornerstones of their campaigns," said Ross. "Republicans and George W. Bush did this and it bankrupted America. How much more damage do Scott Walker and Mark Neumann want to inflict on the people of Wisconsin?"

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.


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