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GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker: Cut taxes, make jobs

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Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker said he has a job-related program that would cut taxes and reduce the size of government as a way to encourage economic development.

The Republican and Milwaukee County executive reduced his county staff through attrition and by contracting services, he told the Tribune editorial board Monday.

He would make several  specific tax cuts if elected governor, he said, and look for ways to help manufacturing, agriculture and tourism, which he described as “the lifeblood of our state economy.”

Walker, a former legislator who has been Milwaukee County’s chief elected official since 2002, faces competition from Republican former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann and from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat.

Walker took aim at Wisconsin’s new “combined reporting” taxation law, which treats parent companies and subsidiaries as one corporation for income tax purposes.

The law is designed to end corporate loopholes and prevent companies from shifting profits to low-tax states, but critics regard it as a job killer.

Walker said combined reporting cost Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson $22.5 million.

It also has adverse consequences on Murphy Oil in Superior, Proctor & Gamble in Green Bay and CenturyLink in La Crosse, he said.

Walker said he would try to repeal the increase in the top income tax bracket and new changes in capital gains deductions, “all of which hurt investment in Wisconsin.”

The adjustment in the top income tax bracket has an effect on small businesses, he said.

“Some in Madison will tell you that it was put on the wealthy,” Walker said, “but the problem is most small business people get taxed on that income level.”

Reducing Wisconsin manufacturing taxes would be a Walker administration goal as well, he said.

“Our state has the highest percentage of any state in the country dependent on manufacturing,” Walker said, “yet in Madison we kind of treat it like our ugly stepchild. That’s got to change.”

He also promises to eliminate Wisconsin’s tax on retirement income, which he says hurts investment in Wisconsin  because wealthy retirees flee to more tax-friendly states.

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