Business tax cut outlined

Tax cuts for small business … one piece of the puzzle.

Gov. Scott Walker is proceeding with a campaign promise of passing a tax cut for small businesses but in the process substantially reducing the size of businesses that would be able to claim it.

Walker and aides Wednesday released details of the draft legislation for the first time, saying that businesses with gross sales of less than $500,000 a year and an income tax liability could qualify for the proposed tax credit. They said the measure would faithfully carry out his campaign pledge.

In September, Walker had said the income tax cut would apply to businesses with “50 or fewer employees.” An economist and an accountant Wednesday said that businesses with as few as a dozen employees could have difficulty qualifying for the credits under the revised proposal.

The proposal, which would amount to an estimated total tax cut of $40 million a year statewide, drew the most praise from owners of mom-and-pop businesses.

Ron Loos, owner of Quality Tool & Die Co., said his five-person shop would be eligible for the tax credit and grateful to get it. Many small tool-and-die shops folded during the recession when business dried up or was moved overseas.

“Any help now for us little guys is welcomed,” said Loos, who is from Milwaukee.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the proposal “clearly fulfills a campaign promise.” Walker himself said in a statement that it targeted the small businesses that are at the heart of the state’s economy.

“Their growth is the key to Wisconsin’s recovery and job growth,” Walker said. “This legislation will provide tax relief to thousands of business owners, freeing them to expand and create jobs.”

The important thing is that it sends a message to businesses.

“It’s the message again that’s as important as the dollars they put into it,” Ward said. “If it increases the confidence of business, they’ll hire. It’s the uncertainty that’s been killing us.”

Sending that kind of message can free up cash that businesses have been hoarding because of worries about the economy, he said.

A sign coming from Madison that Wisconsin is ONCE AGAIN OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

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