State Assembly Republicans want some things out of the latest COVID-19 relief package from D.C. – including a tax rebate for property owners.
“We want to make sure our homeowners receive the assistance they need after a difficult year. So we are suggesting providing one billion dollars, to give the equivalent of ten percent return on property taxes to property owners in Wisconsin,” said Representative Mark Born (R-Beaver Dam).
Born co-chairs the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, which will have no say in how the state’s $3.2 billion share the latest federal stimulus will be allocated. Governor Tony Evers this week vetoed a bill passed by Republican lawmakers last week to give JFC oversight over federal COVID-19 spending.
Born said the tax rebate would pass legal muster, even though the federal money can’t be used for tax relief.
“We’re not impacting tax law or taxes in any way,” he said Tuesday. “This is aid to households. We’re using property taxes that were paid to arrive at the amount.”
Also during Tuesday’s press conference at the Capitol, Representative Barb Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc) asked for more money for long-term facilities.
“It’s important that we recognize this industry, and the difficult year its been through. And yet the governor didn’t even mention it in his priorities,” she said.
Evers said he’s got that covered in his budget, and in the state’s share of the American Recovery Act. “We will also be prioritizing nursing homes, especially as it relates to the things that they need in order to maintain a safe environment.”
Republicans also want $500 million for broadband expansion. Evers this week said he’ll allocate $600 million for businesses, $200 million toward infrastructure, including expanding broadband access, and another $500 million for continuing the state’s pandemic response.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said Republicans may go to court, in order to get that oversight of the federal money.
Representative Pat Snyder (R-Schofield) said that remains a possibility, and that if the shoe was on the other foot, Democrats certainly wouldn’t want a Republican Governor to have control of the funds. “I think my colleagues across the aisle would love to see the Joint Finance Committee get ahold of those funds,” Snyder told WSAU. “I think that would be the right thing to do as well.”