GOP-controlled state Assembly passes nearly $3B income tax cut proposal

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly passed a nearly $3 billion income tax cut proposal Tuesday, despite promises from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to veto it, according to the Associated Press.

The Assembly passed it 64–35 with all Republicans in support and Democrats against. Republicans said the measure was designed to combat inflation and make more Wisconsin retirees stay in the state. Rep. David Steffen, the Republican author of the bill, said it would provide swift and broad tax relief.

Taxes would drop from 5.3% to 4.4% for individual income between $27,630 and $304,170 and married couples between $18,420 and $405,550. The bill would also exclude the first $150,000 of a couple’s retirement income from taxes, which would apply to people over 67. The state’s projected $4 billion budget surplus would pay for the measure.

Democrats echoed Evers in saying they didn’t think the tax cut was sustainable and efforts should instead be focused in other areas, like making child care more affordable.

Evers has said he was open to reconsidering cutting taxes if Republicans would look at funding some of his priorities. Evers called a special session for the Legislature next week to spend more than $1 billion for child care, the University of Wisconsin System, worker shortage programs, and other areas.

Evers’ budget director has warned that cutting taxes more than $432 million over the next two years could jeopardize about $2.5 billion in federal pandemic relief money the state has received. Republican Rep. Mark Born dismissed that concern, calling it a threat from the Evers administration that won’t happen.

The tax cut bill now heads to the Senate.