GOP Leaders Spar Over Walker Tax Cuts

Fate Of Sales Tax Holiday, Child Tax Credit In Question

Wisconsin state Capitol
Rob Chandanals (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Republican leaders at the state Capitol are sparring over the fate of two of Gov. Scott Walker’s top 2018 legislative priorities — a proposed sales tax holiday and child tax credit.

The governor proposed the sales tax holiday, paired with the previously announced tax credit, with Assembly Republicans earlier this month. It would give shoppers a break from sales tax on purchases of up to $100 during the first weekend of August.

But Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, told reporters Monday he doesn’t believe the sales tax holiday can pass the state Senate.

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Senate Republicans have had concerns about similar proposals in the past, citing concerns about whether such promotions actually spur economic growth.

Despite those concerns, the Assembly forged ahead with the combined proposals and passed the plans in one bill last week.

Before the vote, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the bill was a “take it or leave it” package deal for the Senate.

“We are going to hold strongly to our position that we are going to pass both, and that’s what’s going to go through here,” Vos said.

Senators are scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on a scaled back bill that includes only the child tax credit.

If the Senate and Assembly pass different versions of Walker’s tax cut, neither will become law.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald has also expressed reservations about the Senate’s willingness to approve a major reorganization of the state’s juvenile justice system, which also passed the Assembly last week.

The full Senate is expected to meet for its final voting day of 2018 in late March.