Tax Cut Works Through Assembly

I like the policy and I like the political tactic.

MADISON – A panel of Republican lawmakers advanced a plan to cut income taxes for middle-class families that Gov. Tony Evers has said he would oppose because of the way it’s funded.

The $338 million plan would reduce an average married couple’s income taxes by about $300 and heads to the Assembly floor next week.

But Evers reiterated he wouldn’t support the plan less than two hours after it passed the Legislature’s finance committee 10-3 over the objection of Democratic members.

“Republicans proved today that they’re more interested in protecting handouts for millionaires than providing tax relief for middle-class families,” Evers’ spokeswoman Britt Cudaback said about the Republican plan. “Introducing a competing proposal that uses one-time funds and leaves taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in the future isn’t compromise, it’s just fiscally irresponsible.”

But Republican leaders of the finance committee said, “we are delivering a real, middle-class tax cut for Wisconsin families.”

On policy, this is a very simple concept. The State of Wisconsin has a surplus of tax revenue and this would give it back to the taxpayers who paid it. For example, if you overpay for a cup of coffee, you get the surplus back, right? We call it “change.” Evers opposes this simple concept because he doesn’t really want a tax cut. He wants to keep most or all of the surplus and redistribute it back to people he likes. It would be like if you overpaid for that cup of coffee and Barista Evers handed your change to the bum shooting up in the Starbucks’ bathroom. Evers’ policy is neither fair nor right.

On the political front, the Republicans are doing exactly the right thing. Push this tax cut through the legislature and put it on Evers’ desk. Then he will be forced to veto a middle-class tax cut as one of his first acts as governor or let it pass. Hopefully, his better Angels prevail and he gives the taxpayers change for overpaying the cost of government this year.