Legislators will face harsh criticism for giving $0 to a childcare program, broadband expansion, more stable health insurance coverage, and family leave while cutting the UW budget to pay for millionaires’ big break.
Republicans controlling the Wisconsin Legislature have decided to use most of a record $7 billion surplus to provide tax cuts skewed to the very wealthy.
The Joint Finance Committee voted along party lines to set aside $3.5 billion for income tax cuts. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers had also proposed tax cuts for the budget, but the two plans go in very different directions.
The Evers proposal included a 10% cut for all middle class earners that phased out as household income approached $175,000.
The GOP plan makes its biggest percentage cut at the top bracket—incomes over about $405,000 will see their rate drop from 7.65% to 6.5%. People making more than $1 million would save around $30,000 per year. Filers making $40,000 to $50,000 a year would save approximately $88.
Under the Republican proposal, the bottom tax rate barely changes—from 3.54% to 3.5%.
According to Rep. Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa) there will be $20 million in tax relief going to only 11 people at the highest income levels.
The state Senate and Assembly will each take up the budget bill next, and Democrats will provide a long list of items where Republicans chose to spend little to none of the surplus:
- Saving the Child Care Counts program
- Child mental health initiatives
- Expanding BadgerCare coverage to more working families
- Paid family leave
- No-cost school lunches and breakfasts
- More high-speed internet throughout the state
And in one of the Joint Finance Committee’s final votes, a $32 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System was proposed to show disapproval for UW programs that encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
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