Lawmakers in Madison have finally found something that they agree with Gov. Tony Evers about: Helping farmers.
But the agreement ends there.
Assembly Republicans on Monday introduced their own package of proposed laws to help dairymen and farmers across the state.
The proposals come after Gov. Evers earlier this year called for a special session on farm needs in the state. His proposal to help farmers comes with an $8.5 million price tag.
"Our plan is going to be bigger and bolder than the governor's suggestions to us," Rep. August Tyler, R-Lake Geneva, told reporters at the Capitol.
Tyler said Republicans are still waiting for the specifics of how much their plans will cost, but the price tag is sure to be over $15 million. August said Republicans are looking to spend $9 million on health insurance deductions for farmers alone, and another $5 million on a new exports office within the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
"The agriculture industry in Wisconsin is over a $100 billion industry and employs nearly 12 percent of the Wisconsin workforce," August explained. "We build on some of Gov. Evers' proposals, but some of his proposals do take us in the wrong direction by simply adding more government employees."
There are seven proposals in the Republican package. Some are smaller changes, but others, like the plan to allow farmers to deduct the cost of health insurance, would be a major change. There is also a major tax cut in the package.
"The idea behind our targeted tax credit would simply be to return some of the dollars that farmers have paid into state government in years past, and give them those dollars back in relatively short-order so they have some cash in their pockets," said Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City.
That tax credit would be capped at $7,500 per year-per-farm, and would require farmers to show that they are in the business of agriculture and not just living in a rural part of the state.
Other pieces of the Republican package would have the UW System look to future farm technology and study how it can help more people in Wisconsin's farm communities.
There is also a proposal to focus on exporting Wisconsin cheese and milk with a new office inside the Wisconsin Economic Development Office.
The Republican plans could come up for hearings this week.