Republicans pass middle-class tax cut despite veto risk

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin Senate has passed a middle class tax cut, sending the proposal to Gov. Tony Evers.

The Democratic Evers has all-but promised to veto the Republican-sponsored tax cut proposal. The Republican-controlled Senate passed it 19-14, with all Democrats against.

Gov. Evers issued a statement shortly after it's passage, saying he won't take immediate action.

"I'll be including my plan in our budget as I promised. We need to get this done for the people in our state, and I hope that Republicans in the Legislature will set politics aside and work with me to get this done," he wrote.

Assembly Bill 4 is the first bill passed by the Legislature this session. Evers objects to Republicans paying for the $340 million-a-year tax cut by tapping budget reserves.

Evers instead wants to cap benefits offered by a manufacturing tax credit program. Republicans created that tax credit and don't want to cut it, saying that would amount to a $220 million tax increase on manufacturers and would stifle economic growth.

The Wisconsin Republican Party says the average taxpayer will save $170 a year.

The Assembly passed the GOP income tax cut plan on Tuesday.

Republicans don't have large enough majorities in the Senate and Assembly to override an Evers veto without Democratic support.

“I made a promise to the people of our state that I would cut taxes by 10 percent for the middle-class, and that I’d do it in part by rolling back handouts to millionaires and giving that money back to Wisconsin families. That’s the plan the people of our state voted for last November and that's the plan they deserve," Evers wrote, continuing, "Cutting taxes for middle-class families shouldn’t be a Republican issue or a Democrat issue—it’s something we should all be able to agree on, and there’s a way to do it responsibly without costing taxpayers more in the long run."

Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney wrote in a statement: "Over the last eight years, Wisconsin Republicans have fought to reform government by putting the power back in the hands of hard-working families. Our conservative reforms turned a $3.6 billion structural deficit into a $588 million surplus while providing over $8 billion in tax relief. With this plan, Republican lawmakers are once again prioritizing the interests of Wisconsin’s middle class by helping them keep more of their hard-earned money. If Governor Tony Evers truly cares about Wisconsin families, he’ll put politics aside and sign this legislation into law."

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. WBAY contributed to this report.

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