Wisconsin Assembly votes on income tax cut, Evers promises veto

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Assembly was set to vote Tuesday on a doomed $3 billion plan Reducing income taxes and about a constitutional change that makes it harder to raise taxes.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has promised to veto it He rejects the Republican proposal to cut the income tax, but he will not be able to stop the constitutional amendment that would ultimately require voter approval. Under the proposed change, a two-thirds majority in the Legislature would be required to raise taxes – a law that already exists in 16 other states.

The Assembly was also expected to approve another constitutional amendment that would weaken the governor’s power by requiring the Legislature to approve the use of federal funds. The governor has discretion to spend it without legislative approval.

In his first term, Evers was responsible for distributing billions in federal COVID-19 relief funds. After a nonpartisan review in December, Republican lawmakers renewed their criticism of his spending decisions Evers was not transparent about how he decided where to direct the $3.7 billion in aid.

Both proposed changes must be passed by the Senate and Assembly this session and again in the 2025-2026 session before being sent to voters for approval. Evers has no say in passing constitutional amendments.

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The tax cut bill, which Evers has vowed to veto, would cut the state’s third income tax bracket from 5.3% to 4.4% and exempt the first $150,000 of a couple’s retirement income, which applies to people over 67 would.

The measure would use the state’s projected $4 billion budget surplus for funding.

“I will not sign an irresponsible Republican tax cut that threatens our state’s financial stability well into the future and the investments we need to make today to address the real, urgent challenges facing our state,” Evers said last week.

Evers’ budget director has warned that more than $432 million in tax cuts over the next two years could jeopardize about $2.5 billion in federal pandemic relief funds the state has received. Republican Rep. Mark Born dismissed those concerns, calling them a threat from the Evers administration that will not come true.

After passing the Assembly on Tuesday, the tax cut bill would then be sent to the Senate, which could pass it as early as Thursday. That would then send it to Evers to make his promised veto.

Evers said he would be willing to reconsider tax cuts if Republicans would consider funding some of his priorities. Evers call a special meeting that lawmakers will spend more than $1 billion next week on child care, the University of Wisconsin system, workforce shortage programs and other areas.

Instead, Republicans have advanced more modest child care proposals that the Assembly is scheduled to vote on Thursday.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Brian Ashcraft

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