Middle class tax cut plan divides Wisconsin lawmakers

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)--- Wisconsin Democrats and Republicans are divided on how to pay for a middle class tax cut plan. Democrats want a plan that more closely resembles Gov. Tony Evers' plan, but Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says if Evers' tax cut plan raises taxes on anyone to reduce taxes on others it's a non-starter with Republicans.

Vos made the remarks to reporters Tuesday afternoon before he was set to testify at a joint legislative hearing on Republicans' own tax cut plan.

"I’m glad that Governor Evers is trying to find ways to cut taxes. I think he has one flawed belief that the only way you can reduce taxes on some is to raise taxes on others. That is something we are never going to accept," Vos said.

Ahead of the hearing, Democrats proposed their own amendment to the Republicans' bill. They said their amendment would cut taxes by 10 percent, expand a state supplement to the Earned Income Tax Credit and limit the tax credit for manufacturers. Limiting that tax credit is what Republicans oppose.

Evers wants to fund an $415 million annual income tax cut for the middle class by rolling back a manufacturing tax credit program Republicans support. The GOP would fund $340 million in annual income tax cuts for the middle class by pulling dollars out of the state's budget surplus.

Democrats called the plan to use the budget surplus irresponsible. They want to use the surplus to invest in other priorities like healthcare and education.

"Republicans want to use a one-time pot of money that is unreliable and doesn’t guarantee that the tax relief given is sustainable. Democrats believe that any support provided should be reliable and sustainable," said State Senator La Tonya Johnson.

Vos says there's no need to raise taxes on anyone given the surplus. He says he hasn't read the details of Evers' plan but he knows but if it's based on raising taxes on anyone it's a non-starter.

The Assembly Ways and Means Committee is set to vote on the Republican plan on Wednesday. The committee's chairman, Rep. John Macco, told reporters he has read Evers' plan and he found it "bizarrely complicated."

Evers has said he will not sign the Republicans' bill, but Vos said he hopes they can change Evers' mind.

"I certainly think that we have an opportunity to convince him especially by the testimony today, by the good work that we have done, to showcase that there is absolutely no need to raise taxes on anybody in Wisconsin," Vos said.