Republican leaders disagree on tax cut plan

Committee set to vote on bill Thursday morning
Republican leaders disagree on tax cut plan

Republican leaders are in open disagreement about how to move forward on Gov. Scott Walker’s tax cut plan.

The bill got a hearing in the Assembly’s Jobs, Economy and Mining Committee Wednesday, and was referred there by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, rather than to the Joint Finance Committee.

Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler walked lawmakers through the ins and outs of the plan that would cut income taxes for the average tax filer by $46 and property taxes for the average homeowner by $131.

“The two important goals in this bill is to work at getting our tax burden down and to make some enhancements to the state stabilization fund,” Chandler said.

But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald questions why the bill was sent to that committee at all.

“It would go to Finance and it should,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not appropriate and I’m not sure why the speaker is moving in that direction. The end result will be if they pass something on the floor next week and message it to the Senate we will send it to the Finance Committee where it should be in the first place.”

Fitzgerald said he doesn’t have the votes in his house for the plan as is, and some members of the Senate want to pay down a projected $800 million structural deficit and change the tax cuts amounts.

“If the speaker is trying to pressure the Republican caucus in the Senate I don’t think we’re feeling the pressure,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re trying to work through this like we do on every bill we have until we have at least 17 votes to hit the floor.”

For his part, the governor said he’s willing to make some changes.

“If they’re tweaks that fundamentally continue to get money in the hands of hardworking taxpayers we’ll certainly look at different ways of doing that,” Walker said.

Vos responded to criticism with a statement saying, “We want to pass the governor’s plan as soon as possible so as to return these dollars to the taxpayers. We’re not going to wait for the Senate when tax cuts are a top priority for Assembly Republicans.”

The jobs committee is set to vote on the bill Thursday morning.