Finance committee OKs tax cuts, finishes budget

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Legislature's Republican-controlled finance committee has wrapped up revisions on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' state budget.

The committee finished its work Thursday by inserting a GOP tax cut plan into the budget on a 12-4 party line vote.

The plan cuts income taxes by $321.5 million over the 2019-2021 biennium, resulting in an average cut of $75 per taxpayer in tax year 2019 and $77 in tax year 2020.

The plan shifts about $60 million from the state's general fund to bolster lottery property tax credits. It imposes a much lower tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products than Evers called for, resulting in about $23.7 million less revenue for the state.

Republicans scrapped an Evers proposal to cut income taxes by $833 million over the biennium. They also dumped his plan to prohibit businesses from using Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation tax credits, grants and loans to cut jobs in Wisconsin or move jobs out of the state.

Democrats on the Joint Finance Committee said the Republican plan misses the mark and falls short.

"It is really a missed opportunity. I think at the end of the day, as relieved as I am that for now our work on the joint finance committee is done, I am also really sad, because the people of this state really deserve more," said Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor.

Speaker Robin Vos and other legislative Republicans said they would not accept Gov. Evers vetoing the budget.

"I am accepting the fact that we have a budget that literally focuses on what the 40-thousand people who filled out our surveys, thousands of people who went to listening sessions, and frankly, we are taking many of Gov. Evers' ideas and tried to pick the best ones, find consensus where we can," Vos said.

The budget goes next to the full Senate and Assembly.