Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Scooter Plays The Wheel Of Desperate Political Gimmicks


Welcome to our new election year series the Siren calls "Your Panicked Governor."

In YPG, we will examine from time to time political gimmicks and various acts desperation committed by Scott Walker as the election year unfolds.

See, Scott Walker is in trouble. Polls in the state show a two point margin between himself and Democratic challenger, Mary Burke. Worse, they show basically the same against any unnamed challenger.

In other words: BLANK is within the margin of error.

Now Scott Walker has about all the name recognition a person can get (or buy) and nobody knows Mary Burke. That could work against Burke - but it usually doesn't - and she's not dumb.

Scott Walker has terrible job numbers, terrible unemployment numbers, scandal, mismanagement and lawsuits associated with his brand and there is not a whole lot he can do about it.

He needs a gimmick.

He tried with his tax cut last year. When people found out it meant about a buck each month, the response was collective yawn.

Oh, but he's got a doozy up his sleeve he's been floating for a few weeks: eliminate the state income tax.

Wow! Now THAT's a gimmick.

So what would that mean? Well, first, really wealthy people will love it - and they are Walker's base. Middle and low income folks might imagine all the nice things they could do with that cash - but there's a catch - and it too is a doozy.

State income tax makes up about 42% of state revenue. So if you eliminate 42% of your income, you have to make it up somewhere. Where do states who have no income tax get the cash?

Sales tax and property tax. LOTS of sales taxes and BIG property taxes. They also tend to be states with big tourism trade like Florida and Nevada. Wisconsin will never be a destination state like they are. Two states have very limited income tax: New Hampshire and Tennessee. They also are among the highest in property tax rates in the country.

Texas (who republicans love to hold up as an example), has no income tax and they point out a booming corporate climate. They also spend less on their schools, have the most uninsured people, along with high taxes on medium and small businesses and local property taxes that are a major source of contention. It ain't roses for them.

Having anticipated criticism about soaring sales tax, Walker has expressed a desire to limit sales taxes on human necessities like clothing. Sweet. He hasn't commented on property taxes - because he hasn't yet thought up a believable deflection for when it dawns on property owners what they'll pay under this clever scheme. We imagine Mary Burke will remind them. Often.

Whether or not Walker moves forward with his idea is founded in his clear desperation to enlist a gimmick that separates himself from his atrocious performance as a Governor.

When you don't like the conversation, just change the subject.

Bobby Jindal in Louisiana floated this gimmick and was summarily shot down. Walker is going down the same road - however free beer and Packers tickets would be a better bet.

Let's see how desperate he gets.