Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Republican plans for a tax cut would “more than offset” the fee hikes imposed under a newly approved transportation plan.
And the Rochester Republican pledged that taxes won’t increase overall in the next biennial budget, comments that came as Republican legislative leaders are weighing a $400 million middle-class tax cut plan.
Vos, who addressed attendees at a Wisconsin Health News luncheon in Madison Tuesday, said the details of the plan would "hopefully" be announced in the next 48 hours. The Legislature's budget committee is likely to vote on the tax provisions on Thursday.
His remarks came a day after Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told the Wisconsin State Journal Monday that leadership is looking to include a $400 million middle-class tax cut in the budget, a proposal that would be similar to the one the Legislature passed earlier this year but was vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers.
The plan, which would have been paid for using surplus funds, ran counter to a competing tax cut plan from Evers, which would be funded in part by rolling back the state's Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit.
Speaking with reporters after the event, Vos didn’t say how the new tax cut plan would be paid for, but he reiterated the state’s goal is to “make sure that the overall burden does not increase on taxpayers.”
Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff Monday slammed the GOP plan as one that would "protect millionaires" rather than putting "the needs of farmers and working families first."
Meanwhile, Republicans could also impose excise taxes on vapor products as part of the overall budget, Vos said.
Evers in his budget proposed an excise tax on e-cigarettes, which would impose a tax of 71 percent of the manufacturer’s list price and generate an estimated $34.7 million over the next two years.
Vos said he’s not opposed to taxing e-cigarettes, though he said Evers’ level is “too high.” Instead, Vos said he’ll work with his Senate GOP colleagues “to see what number is reasonable.”
He added he supports raising the smoking age to 21, but he told reporters he doesn’t think there’s a need to pass a bill at the state level.
“I guess I’d prefer it to be done at the federal level and it sounds like they’re in the process of making that happen,” he said.
Vos also said he doesn’t think there will be a final omnibus budget motion, called a 999, this cycle. There wasn’t one two years ago, either.
In the event Evers vetoes the full budget, Vos said the Legislature wouldn't reconvene until October to take votes to override it. The break, he told reporters, would give lawmakers the opportunity to "talk about how wonderful this plan is" and put pressure on Democrats.
The Legislature's budget committee is scheduled to convene today to vote on the state's capital budget, which outlines building projects, and other provisions. Members are also expected to vote Thursday on tax provisions.