Wisconsin Public Radio

Evers Vetoes Most of Republicans’ Tax Cut Proposal

But governor delays action on GOP child care tax credit bill, signaling he could sign that proposal

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Mar 1st, 2024 03:35 pm
Gov. Tony Evers gives a speech after defeating Republican opponent Tim Michels on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Gov. Tony Evers gives a speech after defeating Republican opponent Tim Michels on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed the bulk of a Republican tax cut package that would have expanded a state income tax bracket, exempted retiree income from state taxes and increased a tax credit for married couples.

In a statement, Evers said that while he has “been proud to sign several income tax cuts” during his time in office, the latest GOP bills would have “sent Wisconsin on a path toward insolvency.”

“When we deliver tax relief for the people of Wisconsin—just as we have—it should be real relief aimed at helping Wisconsin’s working families afford rising costs, and it should be responsible and sustainable, ensuring we can keep taxes low now and into the future without causing devastating cuts to priorities like public schools and public safety down the road,” Evers said. “Republican members of the Wisconsin State Legislature today once again fail to balance these important obligations.”

Evers also claimed the GOP tax bills could have resulted in the state repaying “billions of dollars in federal relief funds” received under the federal American Rescue Plan Act stimulus of 2021, though his office did not immediately share details on why.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, issued a statement criticizing Evers for rejecting “another round of crucial tax relief,” accusing the governor of prioritizing politics over practical solutions. He alluded to statements Evers had made in the past when the governor referred to families who earn up to $150,000 as “middle class.”

“Despite repeated opportunities provided by Legislative Republicans, Governor Evers refuses to support tax cuts that directly benefit the middle class, even when using defined parameters on what he deems as middle class,” Vos said. “Even more concerning is the Governor’s disregard for Wisconsin’s seniors, who stood to gain significant relief from the proposed tax cut.”

The bills vetoed by Evers would have cut state taxes in a few different ways.

  • The largest of the GOP tax cuts would have expanded Wisconsin’s second lowest income tax bracket to cover individuals making up to $112,500 and married couples earning up to $150,000. Currently, the bracket covers individuals earning between $14,320 and $28,640 and married couples making between $19,090 and $38,190. The tax rate for people getting the cut would have gone from 5.3 percent down to 4.4 percent.

Notably, Evers did not take action on a fourth GOP bill aimed at expanding Wisconsin’s credit for child and dependent care expenses to 100 percent of what someone claims on their federal income tax return. Currently, the state credit covers up to 50 percent of the federal credit. The governor has said “the child care tax credit seems like something that would work.” He has until Tuesday to take action on the bill.

Debate over how to spend $3B budget surplus

Republican leaders have sparred with the governor over the past year over how to spend Wisconsin’s historic budget surplus, which is projected to be more than $3 billion at the start of the next budget cycle.

Even if Evers’ signs the child care tax credit, his vetoes Friday mean that most of the surplus will remain intact. In his last budget proposal, Evers sought to use surplus funds on education, broadband expansion, child care, paid family leave and a range of other government programs. The current state budget, passed by Republicans in June, would have used the surplus on a massive income tax cut, including for people who earn more than $300,000 per year.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.

Evers vetoes bulk of late-session GOP tax cut package was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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2 thoughts on “Evers Vetoes Most of Republicans’ Tax Cut Proposal”

  1. lobk says:

    Hey, Evers/GOP/Dems/Counties/Cities:

    There are many Wisconsin empty-nester seniors who are lower middle class that are considering moving to a state that welcomes our fixed-income spending power because we simply cannot afford to remain here. You repeatedly have not been able to find a way to ease the burden for the lifelong Badger state residents who earn less than 100K & want to stay here?

    There is a true middle ground between the poor and wealthy. Don’t forget about us in your efforts to spend our ridiculous budget surplus elsewhere.

    At least throw us a few crumbs to show you care about us without hurting the poor and needlessly rewarding the rich!

  2. BigRed81 says:

    My retirement income is $32,000.
    I accept paying taxes.
    I strongly object to those making the most paying the least.
    Tax cuts for citizens making making the least should benefit the most. No America should live in Poverty.

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