Gov. Tony Evers has signed a half-a-billion-dollar business tax cut bill into law, marking the first piece of legislation he's approved in the new legislative session.
The plan, approved with bipartisan support by both chambers of the Legislature this week, is targeted at businesses that received federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep workers employed during the COVID-19 crisis.
The legislation brings state tax law inline with federal codes, after Congress in December voted to make the loans tax-deductible under federal law, and comes after business groups spent weeks advocating for the change.
But some raised concerns over the price tag during floor debate, and Assembly Democrats (many of whom ultimately voted in favor of the legislation) proposed an amendment that would have capped the PPP deduction at $250,000 and create a new $241 million grant program to provide support to state businesses. The language was rejected.
In signing the bill Thursday, Evers said the measure is a "really important part of our bounce back effort" and touted the bipartisan nature of the effort.
"Bipartisan can happen when people set aside the things that keep us apart to unify," he said. "I thank the Legislature for doing this."
In addition to costing Wisconsin some $420 million in revenue over the next three years through the PPP provisions, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the bill also contains a series of other policies, such as a farm support program, and further changes to state tax law.
Evers signed another bill into law Thursday that makes changes to the tax treatment of certain corporations. That one passed both the Senate and Assembly unanimously this week.
The two bills were the first ones the Democratic governor signed off on since the state's first and only COVID relief package last spring.