GOP leader promises more tax cuts than increases
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Total tax cuts in the Republican version of the state budget will be greater than all of the increases, including those for vehicle titles and registration, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said on Tuesday.
Vos also warned Democratic Gov. Tony Evers that if he vetoes the entire budget spending on areas such as health care and transportation will only decrease in subsequent proposals.
“I want to make sure that everybody in Wisconsin knows that we have a budget that should get adopted and hopefully Democrats will feel the pressure,” Vos told reporters during a break from budget negotiations with fellow Republicans. “I mean, they’ve been doing pressure on Republicans to support an expansion of welfare. And they should have pressure put on them to support a budget that funds health care, funds our schools, funds our roads.”
Under the Republican budget, funding would increase for K-12 schools and the University of Wisconsin System, but not by as much as Evers proposed. Republicans rejected Evers’ plan to expand Medicaid, which would have leveraged $1.6 billion in federal money and saved the state $324 million over two years. The GOP road-funding plan relied on higher fees, additional borrowing and some cash, instead of raising the gas tax as Evers wanted.
The GOP-controlled budget committee planned to finish its work this week, sending the budget to the full Legislature which is expected to take it up the last week of June. The committee planned to vote Tuesday on how much to spend on government and UW building projects, along with a host of other budget items.
Republicans are eying a roughly $400 million middle class income tax cut but have not released details about how it would be paid for or what it would mean for the average taxpayer. The budget committee planned to vote on that Thursday.
Evers and Republicans have been at odds since even before the governor took office. Republicans called a lame-duck session to weaken his powers and neither side has shown a willingness to give on any significant items in the budget.
Evers has powerful partial veto powers, which he can use to craft the Republican-approved budget into something more palatable to Democrats. But he also hasn’t ruled out vetoing the entire budget, which would require both sides to start from scratch.
Vos, speaking after an appearance at a Wisconsin Health News event, said Republicans wouldn’t take any budget-related action in the summer, waiting instead until October to attempt override votes. Republicans would need to convince Democrats to vote with them to be able to override any veto.
Wisconsin’s current budget runs through June 30. If there is no deal enacted by July 1, there would not be a government shutdown like occurred at the federal level and in other states. Instead, in Wisconsin current funding levels continue until there is a new budget enacted.
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