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Senate Moves Forward With Child Tax Credit, Leaves Sales Tax Holiday Off Agenda

Fate Of Walker's Tax Proposals Remains In Question

Wisconsin State Capitol
Phil Roeder (CC-BY)

The state Senate moved forward Tuesday with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed child tax credit, but the fate of the other half of his 2018 tax agenda — a summer sales tax holiday — remains uncertain.

A Senate committee held a public hearing on the one-time, $100 child tax credit, but didn’t discuss the tax holiday.

“That was not a bill we thought we had the votes for or the consensus in our Senate caucus to bring up at this time,” said Sen. Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac, chair of the Senate’s Economic Development Committee. “It’s something we’re still evaluating with our fellow members in the Republican caucus on the direction we want to go.”

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Earlier this month, Walker proposed pairing the sales tax holiday with the child tax credit. The state Assembly passed the proposals in one bill last week.

Feyen said the Senate could still take action on the sales tax holiday, but Republican senators remain wary of the plan.

“There’s never been a lot of support early on for a sales tax holiday in any form,” he said.

According to Feyen, the biggest hang-up among GOP senators is concern that the holiday wouldn’t spur additional spending in the state, but simply concentrate planned spending over one weekend.

He also said some senators are concerned about some specific language in the bill regarding exceptions for certain goods, like alcohol and candy.

“It’s very hard for some retailers to possibly comply with at all times,” he said.

If the Senate doesn’t take up the tax bill passed by the Assembly, which includes the sales tax holiday, neither the holiday or child tax credit will become law.

Feyen said the Assembly could come back in session to approve a bill that only includes the child tax credit, if that’s all the Senate approves. However, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has said the Assembly has no plans to return and the package bill is a “take it or leave it” deal.

“That is a risk we’re willing to take,” Feyen said. “We feel if it’s worth their time, they’ll come back and do it.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, who co-chairs the state budget committee, told reporters she’s optimistic a deal will come together in the end.

“I think it’s a good thing never to say never,” Darling said. “I have hope that we’re going to get there.”

The Senate is expected to complete its work for the 2018 legislative session by late March.

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