MADISON, Wis. - Republican legislative leaders have introduced an income tax cut that is less than half the cost of what Democratic Gov. Tony Evers asked for. But they say their proposal doesn't require a "tax shift" the way the governor's does.
The co-chairs of the GOP-controlled state budget committee, Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. John Nygren, said they plan to vote Thursday on a $300 million middle-income tax cut over two years.
The Republican leaders said the bottom two income tax brackets would be cut under their plan.
"It helps those working families that are so incredibly important for our working class economy," said Sen. Howard Marklein, a member of the committee.
Their plan would reduce taxes by an average of $75 per person in the first year and $77 in the second year, whereas Evers' plan would result in an average reduction of $216, according to a report from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
The governor's middle income tax plan would provide more than $400 million in tax relief over one year, totaling more than $800 million over two years.
The budget committee has been making changes to Evers' budget proposal before sending it to the full Legislature sometime later this month. The committee planned to wrap up its work on the two-year spending plan Thursday, as taxes were the last category on their agenda. Along with other cuts and reductions to property and income taxes, their entire tax cut plan totals more than $500 million.
"I'm pretty excited not only for this tax cut but to be all done today," Nygren said.
After the Republican-controlled state Legislature signs off on the budget proposal, it will head to the governor's desk. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said this week that if Evers vetoes the plan, Republicans won't attempt to override the veto until October.
Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Evers said, "The governor's sustainable plan puts the needs of farmers and working families first, while Republicans are fighting to protect millionaires.
Rep. Chris Taylor touted the governor's proposal during budget negotiations, saying Evers' priority is "fair taxation."
"You have protected $1.1 billion in tax giveaways mostly to the most wealthy," Taylor told her GOP colleagues. "You favor the people who don't need it."
The Republicans' plan also would expand the scope of businesses that are going to be taxed. Marklein said that would provide clarity for small businesses that sell through platforms like Amazon.
A tax would also be imposed on e-cigarettes and vaping products under the GOP plan that's estimated to generate $5.5 million over two years. The tax rate of 5 cents per milliliter is much smaller than the one Evers proposed equal to 71 percent of the product's price.
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