Gov. Evers signs restaurant recovery bills into law

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin bars, restaurants and small businesses are getting some more help in time for tax season as they work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed two bills recently passed by the state legislature into law Monday — one that is designed to assure businesses that federal COVID-19 relief funds they receive are exempt from state taxes, and one that increases the amount of ordinary income that may be offset by capital losses from $500 to $3,000. Both bills passed with bipartisan support.

“With these two bills, we hope to provide folks with a little more clarity and a little less stress and worry as they head into tax season,” Gov. Evers said at the bill signing ceremony Monday.

Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca says more than 2,000 businesses in the state will be helped by the new laws.

State Representative Francesca Hong (D-Madison), who also owns and operates a restaurant downtown, says the legislation will provide substantial relief.

“Supper clubs, cafes, restaurants, we are the core of what really makes Wisconsin, ‘Wisconsin,’ but the impacts of COVID-19 have fundamentally changed the way we operate,” Rep. Hong said. “The truth is this pandemic is actually far from over and it’s hard to say or think about, but even today, restaurant owners continue take on enormous debts while struggling to take care of our workers wellbeing and wages.”

Rep. Hong added that while thousands of businesses will benefit from the latest legislation, more work needs to be done to help the more than 3,700 restaurants and bars that don’t have access to those funds. She called on Congress to replenish the restaurant revitalization fund and added that her colleagues in the state legislature need to focus on forward-thinking bills to continue to help those businesses.

The governor said the legislation is one way to help local restaurants and bars, but added there is another way everyone can help: come back and support them by stopping in.