Assembly Passes Walker Tax Cuts; Senate Leaders Concerned Over Balance

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

The state Assembly passed Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed income and property tax cuts on Tuesday, even as Republicans in the state Senate continue to voice issues with the plan.

The Assembly proposal closely resembles the one Walker introduced a few weeks ago. It would cut property taxes by about $400 million and cut income taxes by about $100 million. Even though Republican state senators still want tweaks to the plan, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos wanted his members to vote on it immediately.

“We’re going to cut taxes. We’re going to put more money in the hands of working people all across the state, which will create more jobs and grow our economy even more,” Vos said.

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Two Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for the tax cut.

Democratic lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to change the plan to boost the size of the property tax cut for most people by focusing it on homeowners, and taking it away from other types of property, like farmland. Their changes would have also deposited more money in the state’s rainy day fund, largely because they would not adjust the state’s income tax withholding like Walker did.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca told Republicans it was a better alternative, and urged them not to listen to their speaker.

“He’s going to tell you — he probably already did — take out that rubber stamp, and just stamp whatever the governor tells you to do,” Barca said. “But be aware, be clear: Your colleagues, the Republicans in the Senate, they’re not willing to pull out that rubber stamp. They believe that this is irresponsible.”

That tension with the state Senate continued Tuesday, as Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told several news outlets he wasn’t even sure the Assembly Republican’s proposal was balanced.