Assembly Republicans are proposing to cut taxes for the middle class in Wisconsin, just like Governor Tony Evers promised on the campaign trail. However, Republicans say they won’t have to raise taxes on manufacturers and farmers as Evers planned.
The proposal, unveiled in press conferences around the state by members of the Assembly, would provide “$340 million in tax relief through a targeted cut for individuals making less than $100,000 and families making $150,000 or less,” according to a release from the office of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). “The median income family filing jointly will see a $310 reduction in net taxes, a 10.6 percent reduction in their tax liability.”
During his campaign for governor, Evers had proposed a 10 percent reduction in taxes for lower and middle class taxpayers. To pay for the $340 million proposal, Evers would have nearly eliminated the state’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit, raising those taxes to pay for his proposed tax cut.
The plan by Assembly Republicans, however, would not raise taxes on manufacturing and agriculture. Instead, the Assembly plan would use the current budget surplus to finance increasing the sliding scale standard deduction beginning in 2020.
“The middle class tax cut proposal uses the GOP surplus that has been developed over the last eight years of good budgeting and a growing economy, and puts it towards Tony Evers’ middle class tax cut,” said Assembly Speaker Pro-Tem Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva) at a press conference in Sussex, WI. “We’re fulfilling an Evers campaign promise, again, without raising taxes, especially on farmers and manufacturers in this state.”
Assembly Caucus Chairman Dan Knodl (R-Germantown) said it was the strength of Wisconsin’s economy under Republicans that have made the tax cut possible.
“We have seen additional tax revenue come in which has resulted in a budget surplus,” Knodl said at the press conference. “Those are dollars that we now recognize that those hard-earning workers, citizens of Wisconsin, should be able to keep more of those dollars instead of sending them to Madison.”
“We’re happy to join Governor Evers, partner with him, in bringing forward a middle class tax cut,” Knodl said.
The Assembly tax cut proposal received support from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) in a statement Thursday.
“Middle-class families in Wisconsin should keep more of what they earn,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m glad to see that our colleagues in the Assembly are prioritizing plans to lower taxes and I have asked Senator Marklein, Senator Kooyenga, and Senator Stroebel to work with the Assembly on a plan to deliver tax relief for hard-working families.”
The tax cut plan also drew praise from the state’s largest business organization, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). “This is great news for Wisconsin taxpayers, and we are excited to see bipartisan support for one of Gov. Evers’ biggest policy priorities during his campaign,” said WMC Kurt Bauer in a statement released Thursday. “Since the completion of the November election, WMC has stated a desire to find common ground with both the legislature and Gov. Evers. This proposal does exactly that.”
“Reducing the tax burden on hard-working, middle class Wisconsinites is something both sides of the aisle have said they are supportive of, and we look forward to working with the legislature and Gov. Evers to make this tax cut a reality,” Bauer said.
Assembly Republicans are planning for the tax cuts to pass before the process begins for the 2020-2022 biennial state budget.
“It’s our plan to unveil this as a standalone bill early next week and run it through as its own bill before the state budget,” August said in a reply to a question from Media Trackers.
“I think that it’s important that when we have the surplus in hand, we get that money back out to the people as fast as we can,” August said in response to a question to another reporter. “It sets the stage for the budget discussions – that we have found ways to cut taxes without needing to raise taxes on others. So it shifts the debate in the budget talks if we get this done ahead of time.”
Assembly Republicans were optimistic that Evers would go along with the tax cut proposal. “We believe Governor Evers was sincere in October when he suggested that the middle class needs a tax break,” said Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) at the press conference. “So we fully expect the governor to support this endeavor. We look forward to finding that common ground with Governor Evers in 2019 and 2020.”
Nonetheless, Assembly Republicans were also eager to highlight the difference between their plan and the governor’s plan. “We appreciate that Governor Evers wants to lower income taxes for the working class,” said Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) at the press conference. “But he wants to raise taxes on farmers and businesses to pay for that. We don’t need to do that. We can simply use our surplus to lower income taxes on working class families and that’s the right way to do it.”
Reposted with permission from Media Trackers.