Governor Walker says any new sales tax would be offset with cuts

MADISON -- Gov. Scott Walker said Monday that he wants to cut other taxes to offset up to $187 million a year Wisconsin may start collecting on internet sales in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week.

Options may include expanding the $100 per-child tax credit available to families this summer for the first time and tax cuts targeting senior citizens, Walker told reporters after an event celebrating Wisconsin Cheese Day.

"One way or the other we'd want to get that back to the hardworking taxpayers," Walker said following an event at the Center for Dairy Research on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. "How we do that I think will be a part of a larger discussion."

Wisconsin is among state that are determining what to do after the Supreme Court last week reversed a 1992 decision from South Dakota allowing the collecting of the taxes. For some states, the ruling will automatically trigger the collection of taxes. Wisconsin has a 2013 law that requires an equal cut in income taxes if federal law requires collecting online sales taxes. Whether a Supreme Court ruling will trigger that provision is one thing Walker's administration is examining.

If a law change is needed, that's not likely to happen until next year. The Legislature is not scheduled to return until January. That is after the November election where Walker is running for a third term and majority control of the state Senate and Assembly will be determined.

Wisconsin Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler said he expects the department's plan for collecting the tax, along with any offset, to be included in the next state budget proposal introduced in early 2019. Walker promised a "comprehensive plan" to address the collection of the new tax and any offset.

But he said his plan will ensure there is no net tax increase due to the Supreme Court's ruling, which he said was designed to level the playing field for all retailers.

The actual amount the state collects from the online sales tax likely will be less than $187 million because not everyone will pay as required and some small sellers may be exempt, Chandler said. His department is working on estimates, he said.