- Associated Press - Monday, June 10, 2019

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republicans are working on a roughly $400 million middle class tax cut to be unveiled as soon as Tuesday, a third attempt to find an income tax cut that both the GOP and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers can agree to.

Evers vetoed a Republican-passed income tax cut bill earlier this year and Republicans have rejected his 10% income tax cut proposal because it would increase taxes on manufacturers to pay for it.

There were few details Monday about how the latest tax cut being eyed by Republicans would be paid for or how it would affect the average taxpayer. The Wisconsin State Journal first reported on the plans based on a brief interview with Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald during which he only talked about the total size of the cut.

Fitzgerald’s spokesman Alec Zimmerman said he could not provide any additional details.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, in a statement, said Republicans looked forward to enacting a middle class tax cut that can survive an Evers veto. He called cutting income taxes a “bipartisan goal.”



Earlier this year Evers vetoed a Republican proposal that cut income taxes about $340 million a year. Evers objected to paying for it with budget reserves and expected revenue growth.

Evers, in his state budget that’s pending before the Legislature, called for cutting income taxes by about $415 million a year, a 10% reduction. He was largely paying for it by all-but eliminated a manufacturing tax cut program created and supported by Republicans.

With that approach dead in the GOP-controlled Legislature, Republicans instead were working on another approach to include in the budget the Joint Finance Committee was working to complete this week. The full Legislature must pass it, as soon as late June, before it would go to Evers for his consideration.

Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said the GOP plan wouldn’t go as far as the governor’s to help the middle class.

“The governor’s sustainable plan puts the needs of farmers and working families first, while Republicans are fighting to protect millionaires,” she said.

Fitzgerald said the tax cut envisioned would be similar to the one Assembly Republicans proposed in January. That bill would have cut taxes for the average filer about $170 a year. The Evers proposal would have cut taxes on average about $225 for every filer.

The budget committee is also making final decisions in a variety of other areas, most notably how much to spend on building projects around the state. Evers requested $2.5 billion, including about $1.1 billion for University of Wisconsin System projects.

Fitzgerald told the State Journal that funding for the UW System’s building projects was the largest capital budget item still in flux.

“We’ve got to determine what our tolerance is,” he said.

University leaders have been calling on lawmakers to pay for needed upgrades and repairs, saying investments are needed to address dilapidated buildings.

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Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbauerAP

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