Born Applauds Tax Cuts As Two Year Budget Process Winds Down

(Madison) Republican leaders of the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee took a victory lap Thursday, prior to final action on their two-year state budget. Representative Mark Born is co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. The Beaver Dam Republican says it represents a major improvement on what was sent them, by Democratic Governor Tony Evers.

“We knew that Governor Evers sent us a budget that was reckless. It focused on massive spending, major tax increases and expansion of welfare,” Born says.

The cornerstone of the Republican plan is a massive tax cut.

“Three-point-five billion dollars. We also eliminate what I consider to be a very unfair tax on our small businesses, the personal property tax,” Senator Howard Marklein says.

The tax cuts – actually about 3-point-4 billion – would save the typical family about 12-hundred dollars a year, although Democrats were quick to point out that higher income households would fare even better. Republicans also say their budget would result in the state again covering two-thirds of the costs of K-12 education, and meet the federal government’s “maintenance of effort” requirement to qualify for  more than two billion dollars in the last two COVID stimulus packages.

The final product drew criticism from the Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction. State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s action by the Joint Committee on Finance on the 2021-23 biennial budget:

“After the recent announcement of the state’s surplus, the Joint Committee on Finance came in woefully short on our state’s investment in education. There is no increase in local revenue limits, so schools will not have the ability to spend state dollars beyond what they had last year to continue basic operations and meet student needs. The increase for state General Aids simply changes the mix of state aid and local property taxes.”

The Assembly and Senate could vote on this budget as early as the week after next. Governor Evers can reject or modify parts of their plan using his veto authority.