Legislation Wisconsin

Tony Evers vetoes $250 million Republican tax cut legislation | Politics and Elections | madison.com

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a major $250 million Republican-led tax-cut package on Wednesday that would use surplus revenues to reduce the average taxpayer’s income tax bill by $106.

Evers, who vetoed the legislation at a Wauwatosa elementary school, said the legislation does not go far enough to boost the state’s investment in education or reduce property taxes.

The state Assembly and Senate passed the Republican-driven legislation in back-to-back sessions late last week.

“I will not accept a plan that continues to let local taxpayers foot bills the state should have to pay, and I will not accept a plan that doesn’t invest in our kids and our schools for mental health education or special education,” Evers said before vetoing the Republican tax bill.

For now, at least, the veto means neither schools nor property or income taxpayers will see any relief from the state’s unanticipated $452 million in extra tax revenue.

Evers had introduced a plan that would have used about $250 million of the state’s extra tax revenue to increase K-12 education and school mental health funding and lower property taxes. Under state-imposed revenue limits, additional money provided to districts through the equalization aid formula would in many cases force districts to lower property tax rates.

“I’m greatly disappointed that Governor Evers has once again chosen to play politics and veto a tax cut that was targeted to help low and middle income families across our state,” said Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who serves as co-chairman of the Legislature’s budget committee. “With his veto pen, he has effectively raised taxes on these earners by an average of $106 per year.”

On Wednesday, Evers said he’s open to making additional payments on state debt or a higher cut on property taxes, as well as an income tax cut, but wouldn’t do it unless Republicans could compromise with him and also use some surplus revenue to increase funding for schools.

While Evers wanted a $1.4 billion increase for public schools in the state budget, Republicans ended up giving him a $505 million increase, which Evers boosted to about $570 million through the partial veto process.