MADISON -- Since Tony Evers was sworn in as Governor, every press release I have put out has emphasized bipartisanship. Every one of my weekly radio addresses has mentioned ways I think we can find bipartisan solutions to issues facing the 75th Assembly District and the state.
This week, Democrats proved they don’t care about bipartisanship – if a good idea comes from Republicans, they’re against it. Period.
People in northern Wisconsin work really hard. So when the state takes in more money than it needs to operate, we should give some of that money back to you, the taxpayers. That is why I voted for a middle-class tax cut this week that will let middle and lower-class taxpayers keep more of their own money.
In his campaign for Governor, Tony Evers discussed a plan to cut middle-class taxes. He proposed that any couples filing together that make less than $150,000 per year and individual filers making less than $100,000 per year should get a 10% cut in their state taxes. I welcomed the idea of providing more relief for families in our area – especially since most families, including myself, make well below this threshold. In addition, the largest tax reduction in this plan would go to married filers earning between $30,000 and $40,000 per year who would see a nearly 50% reduction in their tax liability.
Fast forward to January 30th of this year, our non-partisan fiscal bureau reported that we would end our previous budget with $616 million left over. Historically, that is a sizable surplus. But they also estimated that we will take in an additional $1.78 billion during the next budget in addition to current funding levels. That totals $2.4 billion in new revenue over the biennium, the best outlook in 20 years! There was no reason we couldn’t meet the Governor’s plans.
In the last two days, Democrats in both chambers voted against the tax cut. Why? Because we didn’t raise taxes on farmers and manufacturers at the same time. That’s right: Democrats, including our northern representatives, voted against putting more money in your pocket because we didn’t take money out of somebody else’s first. When the state is taking in more revenue than ever before, Democrats held your checkbook hostage.
We will face challenges over the next two years. But we have more than enough money coming in to invest in our priorities and help our middle and lower-class taxpayers. Our tax cut bill was straightforward – no accounting gimmicks, no “poison pills,” and no other policy items attached. The bill was only 3 pages long. Although some politicians feel insulated from the public since they are starting a new term, I hope that next election voters remember that saying you support the middle class and actually voting to support the middle class are two different things.
I’m going to continue to work toward finding solutions we can all support. I hope my Democratic colleagues can see their way to joining me.