Empower Wisconsin | March 9, 2022
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers this week signed into law a bill delivering tax relief to Wisconsin’s restaurant owners.
It was an interesting turn of events. Two years ago this month, the Democrat was putting businesses out of business.
Evers made life hell for restaurants when his lockdowns ordered “non-essential businesses” to close at the outset of the pandemic.
The bill provides a tax exemption for federal COVID relief grants through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The money is now tax deductible.
It appears the Evers administration has learned from the criticism it received after the state Department of Revenue had quietly planned to tax tens of thousands of Wisconsin businesses on the federally forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans they received.
“Gov. Tony Evers and the DOR are looking to skim the federal money that came down to our small businesses so they can grow the coffers in Madison,” state Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton) told Empower Wisconsin in January 2021. The Legislature eventually passed a bill, which Evers signed, stopping the state tax on the federal funds.
At this week’s bill-signing ceremony, Evers said Wisconsin restaurant owners have shown “remarkable resilience and flexibility over the past two years.”
“It hasn’t been easy, and many are still struggling,” the governor said.
They’re still struggling from the effects of Evers’ illegal stay-at-home orders that the Wisconsin Supreme Court finally struck down in May 2020. Businesses deemed “non-essential” — such as bars, restaurants, retailers and hair salons — were ordered closed. When they were finally allowed to re-open, power-grabbing local health directors (with a wink and a nod from Team Evers) shut down the businesses again or severely limited the number of patrons they could serve. The Evers administration then issued another order drastically limiting capacity at bars and restaurants. The courts again ruled the governor had exceeded his authority.
The Wisconsin Restaurant Association has estimated 15 percent of Wisconsin restaurants have closed since the start of the pandemic.
But this re-election year, Wisconsin’s governor wants voters to forget that part of his abusive reign. He wants them to remember that two years after his disastrous lockdowns he signed bi-partisan legisiation providing tax relief to the restaurants he closed.
Evers is kind of like the fireman arsonist who wants credit for putting out the blaze he started.