Empower Wisconsin | Feb. 21, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — A nearly $400 million GOP tax/debt relief package is now on its way to Gov. Tony Evers’ desk following passage Thursday by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Now the question is, will Evers sign it or play politics along with the far left Democrat minority in the Assembly and Senate?
The GOP plan delivers another $248 million in income tax relief, reducing the tax burden by about $106 annually for the average filer. It also cuts personal property taxes for businesses and directs $100 million for debt reduction. The package is compliments of a projected $800 million-plus in better-than-expected revenue.
“Thanks to responsible budgeting and a strong economy in Wisconsin, I am thrilled that we were able to pass both an income tax cut for hard-working Wisconsin families and a tax cut for the businesses of our state. Republican reforms over the last decade are working, and we’re continuing to trim the size of government while returning money to the taxpayers,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said following the Senate’s delayed vote.
“I am hopeful that the governor will carefully examine this tax cut, like he told me he would when we met this week,” Fitzgerald added.
That hope appeared unfounded after Evers’ spokeswoman Britt Cudaback on Wednesday snidely tweeted, “The governor told @SenFitzgerald he’ll be as open Republicans’ tax bill as Republicans have been about passing his education plan.”
The governor’s proposal would dump $250 million of the $620 million state surplus into school funding, about $130 million of that marked for property tax reduction through the state’s school aid formula. State taxpayers would have to pick up the tab to fund two-thirds of k-12 education. The Democrat’s plan also would put money into the state’s rainy day fund.
Evers took a shot at the Republican tax cut on Twitter.
“I know there are Republicans concerned about the high price tag of their own unsustainable tax bill that shortchanges our rainy day fund. My plan invests in our kids and property tax relief. There’s still time to do the right thing” the governor said.
I know there are Republicans concerned about the high price tag of their own unsustainable tax bill that shortchanges our rainy day fund. My plan invests in our kids and property tax relief. There’s still time to do the right thing.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) February 20, 2020
Dems over the past couple of days delivered one insufferable speech after another, insisting Republicans were unconscionable, immoral, claiming conservatives were forsaking investments in education in favor of sending money back to taxpayers.
Republicans stood firm, telling Democrats to save their indignation. They noted the Republican-led Legislature pumped more than $550 million in new spending for K-12 education in the current budget, and north of $600 million in the last budget — record spending over the past four years. Evers signed the latest budget, while his fellow Democrats in the Legislature voted against the robust spending increases for political reasons.
“When is enough enough?” asked state Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa).
The most alarming fact of the day came from Rep. John Macco (R-Ledgeview), noting Wisconsin’s big state government isn’t spending any less.
“We burn through $100 million a day” in taxpayer money, the lawmaker said of state spending.