Wisconsin Capitol building in Madison, Wis.

Republicans introduce nearly $3 billion tax cut

August 30, 2023 6:07 PM

While Governor Evers says he likes some parts of the plan, he isn't sure the middle class cuts would hold water.

By: Nate Wegehaupt

MADISON, Wis. (Civic Media) – GOP state lawmakers have introduced a new bill that would cut taxes by nearly $3 billion. Dubbed the “Return Your Surplus” package, retirees and individuals earning up to $304,000 would see the largest tax cuts.

The bill would lower taxes for households in the state’s third tax bracket, earning between around $27,000 and $304,000 for an individual, from 5.5% to 4.4%. It would also eliminate taxes on retirement income for individuals earning up to $100,00 per year. 

Earlier this year, Republicans included major tax cuts in their proposed budget, but those were largely removed by Governor Tony Evers, who said that they disproportionately benefited the state’s top earners. He said that he wanted Republicans to craft a new tax plan that would better benefit Wisconsin’s middle class.

At a hearing of the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee earlier today, Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay), who helped author the bill, says that the bill is focused on reducing taxes for the middle class.

Ways and Means Chair Rep. John Macco (R-Ledgeview) said at today’s hearing that the governor called the plan a fair compromise, and said his tax cuts, introduced at the beginning of the year, were similar to the new plan.

However, Governor Evers later clarified to WAOW in Wausau that those comments were directed at the retiree tax cuts, and he is unsure if he would sign the income tax cuts. He said that the middle class cuts may not hold water, and may require Wisconsin to return billions of federal dollars.

On Monday, Evers’ budget director released a memo saying that, if the state were to cut taxes by over $432 million over the next two years, they may be on the hook to repay around $2.5 billion in pandemic relief funding. Rep. Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam), who co-chairs the state’s Joint Finance Committee, dismissed those concerns.

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