The governor’s proposed income tax cut would nearly double, under a plan approved early Wednesday morning by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. The state budget provision would increase tax cuts in the budget to almost $650 million over the next two years, compared to the $343 million cut Governor Scott Walker originally proposed.
The budget provision would collapse state income tax brackets from five to four, with those making between about $28,000 and $315,000 a year paying the same rate. All brackets would see a rate reduction of between 0.1 and 0.48 percent.
JFC co-chair John Nygren (R-Marinette) said the move helps meet a Republican goal of simplifying the state’s tax code and providing relief to taxpayers. Nygren said giving more money back to the people “is the appropriate thing to do.”
Democrats hammered the proposal though for giving the majority of the net tax benefits to those making over $100,000 a year. State Representative Cory Mason (D-Racine) argued the proposal uses money taken from schools in the last biennium to give a tax cut to the wealthy and accused Republicans of “doing this on the backs of school children.”
However, state Representative Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), who lobbied heavily for the larger tax cut over the past week, said it makes sense for those who were paying a larger share of the tax burden to see a greater benefit.
The measure passed on a 12-4 party line vote. It will be considered as a part of the budget the full Legislature takes up later this month.