Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

Tax the sick

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The following is from the Wisconsin Club For Growth newsletter. I thought it timely as another reminder how the governor’s actions do not live up to his words.

Tax the Sick – Feed the State

On April 15th, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers turned out at Tea Party rallies across the country to protest higher taxes and to tell government officials that they’ve had enough.

Governor Jim Doyle, intent on spending ever increasing amounts of our money, ridiculed Wisconsin’s tax watchdogs during a Capitol rally.
Doyle said that those at the Madison rally were “protesting against the biggest middle-class tax breaks that we have seen in decades in this country.

And at the state level, despite the horrendous economy and the situation we’re in, (under) the budget I proposed, if you make less than $300,000 a year, you’re not going to face any kind of tax increase.”

Of course Doyle’s assertion is contradicted by the facts. His budget would raise taxes on everyone who drives a car, owns a home, smokes, pays tuition to the University of Wisconsin, lives in a nursing home, or talks on cell phone, just for starters.

Earlier this year, the Governor signed a new $400 million sick tax into law. Doyle claimed the tax would help lower health care costs for consumers by increasing the state Medicaid reimbursement rate to hospitals. Yet before the ink is dry on his new sick tax, the Governor is raising the tax again in order to keep state spending high.

Following is a summary of the new budget plan prepared by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce:

The new budget agreement will increase the recently-enacted hospital assessment by 20 percent and use some of the money to support other government spending. The $165 million in hospital assessment changes the administration cites appears to be a combination of more diversions of assessment revenues and other, unspecified Medical Assistance changes. Earlier this year, Governor Doyle signed into law a new hospital assessment. For 2009, the assessment was to be nearly 1.3 percent of gross patient revenues. The assessment was projected to generate, over the 2009-2011 biennium, $650 million from Wisconsin hospitals and attract, over the 2009-2011 biennium, $635 million in new federal Medicaid dollars to Wisconsin in order to increase hospital Medicaid reimbursement rates. The state was planning on diverting $225 million of the assessment revenues and using these dollars to pay for other government spending.

Full details on the new hospital assessment have not been released. It appears, under the new agreement, the assessment will be in the range of 1.5 percent and 1.6 percent of gross patient revenues. WMC has been told the proportion of the assessment dollars going to increase hospital Medicaid reimbursement rates and the proportion of the dollars going to support other spending will not change. By this calculation, the assessment is now projected to generate, over the 2009-2011 biennium, $780 million from Wisconsin hospitals and attract, over the 2009-2011 biennium, $760 million in new federal Medicaid dollars to Wisconsin. Under the new agreement, it appears the state will divert $270 million in assessment revenues and use these dollars to pay for other government spending. When actual figures from the administration are released, WMC will report them to you.

While final details of the plan are not yet available, one thing is clear: the Governor’s new sick tax will mean higher health care costs for Wisconsin families when they can least afford it.

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