(The Center Square) – The conversation among Wisconsin Republicans over the state’s $4.4 billion in new money revolves around how to give it back to taxpayers.
Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, told News Talk 1130 WISN’s Jay Weber the options include property tax or income tax reductions, eliminating entire tax brackets, or perhaps ending the state’s personal property tax.
“I’ve never been one for one-time rebates, I don’t like those gimmicky things,” Kooyenga said.
The state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Tuesday updated the state’s financial outlook, saying Wisconsin will see $4.4 billion more from taxpayers over the next two years.
Democrats in Madison, especially Gov. Tony Evers, want to spend the new tax windfall. Kooyenga said Republicans are unified in wanting to use the money to pay for tax cuts.
“We’re talking about how to cut taxes, not 'are we going to cut taxes',” Kooyenga explained.
Kooyenga said Republicans have spent the past decade lowering Wisconsin’s tax burden, and the state’s economy hasn’t suffered.
“I’m underwhelmed personally, I think we should be doing a lot more,” Kooyenga said. “But if you look at what Wisconsin is doing compared to the other 49 states, on average, we’ve been lowering our taxes at a good rate. And yet, state revenue is going through the roof.”
Kooyenga said it is likely that Republicans will have to agree to relatively simple tax cuts, if for no other reason than lawmakers don’t trust Evers.
“It’s tougher to do a complete overhaul of the tax code, which cleans up deductions and updates some other things, because you don’t want Gov. Evers to veto out some things and keep others,” Kooyenga said.
Evers told Channel 3000 this week that he’s willing to talk about tax cuts, but wants a lot more spending in the next state budget first.
“It’s not that we’ve been in a tax cut-free environment. We’ve been doing it all along,” Evers said. “I fully expect to have conversations about [the Republicans’] plans. In the beginning, we need to fix the budget they’re working on because it’s not in good shape.”
The Republicans who control the state budget process are supposed to have a final two-year, $80-plus billion budget to the governor by the end of the month.