Wisconsin Republicans plan $400 million income tax cut

MADISON — Republicans are planning to include a roughly $400 million middle class tax cut in the state budget, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Monday.

Fitzgerald told the Wisconsin State Journal that Republicans want to "hit that tax cut number" before finishing committee work on the budget this week. Fitzgerald says Republicans haven't agreed on a final number.

The Legislature's budget-writing Joint Finance Committee planned to finish its work on the budget Thursday, before sending it to the full Legislature. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has to sign it before it would become law.

Evers already vetoed a Republican income tax cut proposal funded by budget reserves. Evers proposed a tax cut paid for by all-but eliminating a manufacturing tax credit program.

Evers' spokeswoman did not immediately return a message for comment. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also did not immediately return a message.

Fitzgerald said the tax cut envisioned would be similar to the one Assembly Republicans proposed in January. That cut would have provided $170 in tax relief, on average, to nearly 2 million qualifying mostly middle income tax filers.

Evers vetoed the bill because its $338 million cost would have been funded with one-time budget surplus.

But Fitzgerald said the GOP tax cut won't match what Evers proposed. He called for an $892 million cut that would have been paid for by all-but ending a manufacturing tax break program.

The budget committee also must decide how much money to spend on building programs around the state. Evers requested $2.5 billion, including about $1.1 billion for University of Wisconsin System projects.

Fitzgerald said funding for the UW System's building projects is the largest capital budget item still in flux.

"We've got to determine what our tolerance is," he said.