Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday urged Republicans and Democrats to unite to quickly approve a $100-per child tax credit and a host of other election-year priorities, including guaranteeing insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
The child credit Walker is proposing would equal $100 for every kid living at home under age 18 payable in cash this fall, shortly before he stands for re-election. There are about 1.2 million children in the state in 671,000 households. The $122 million cost would come from a state budget surplus. Starting in 2019, it would be a refundable $100 per child tax credit included in state income tax returns.
Walker is also seeking a federal waiver to allow Wisconsin to offer a reinsurance program to the roughly 200,000 people in Wisconsin who purchase health insurance on the private marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. Reinsurance, which has bipartisan support, basically sets up a pool of money for the government to cover the cost of insurers’ most expensive cases. The governor estimates that the program would cost the state $50 million if the federal government pays for $150 million.
Walker also called on the Legislature to pass a law guaranteeing that no one with pre-existing conditions is denied coverage.
On welfare, Walker is asking the Republican-controlled Legislature to force parents on food stamps with school-aged children to work or be in job training, and to increase the work requirement already in place for childless adults. He’s also calling for mandating photo identification for food stamp recipients, a move long opposed by Democrats and others who say it’s an impediment to poor people getting food.
Walker is also calling for passage of a proposal in the Legislature to boost aid for rural schools and allow low-spending districts to raise their property taxes without a vote, similar to a change he vetoed from the state budget.
Hours before his speech Walker proposed spending $50 million more each year on programs targeting rural economic development.