A bill creating a tax exemption for contributions to health savings accounts is headed to the Governor’s desk.
The state Senate and Assembly both signed off on the measure Thursday. The accounts are typically used to help off-set the costs of high-deductible private health insurance.
Democrats in the Assembly questioned how the $50 million two year cost of the deductions will be paid for, especially at a time when the state is facing a $3.3 billion budget deficit. State Representative Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) says the money could be better spent on education or to seek matching funds from the federal government for BadgerCare Plus benefits.
Republicans pushed the plan as part of a special session on job creation, although Democrats argue the impact will be too small to actually do anything.
State Representative Jeff Stone (R-Greendale) says the deduction allows those thinking about starting a new business to take that risk and offset the cost of private health insurance. He says many potential new business owners can’t afford to take out a loan against their home and also continue to afford health care.
Only about 1.3-percent of the state’s population will qualify for the exemption, although Stone says it’s those people who need help the most when taking a chance on starting a new business that could create jobs.