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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers cool to top Republicans' property tax cut plan
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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers cool to top Republicans' property tax cut plan

GOV TONY EVERS (copy)

Gov. Tony Evers

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers isn't ruling out a potential property tax cut Republicans are considering for next year — but he stressed the state needs to ensure "we have the resources necessary" to pursue the idea. 

Still, Evers in Monday end-of-year interview with the Cap Times said it is "way too early" to commit spending potential surplus funding when Wisconsin has "issues around clean drinking water" and "our schools not having enough resources." 

"We just have to make sure that the money exists and this is the best way to spend it," he said at his Capitol office. "Overall I think it looks like the national economy is maybe struggling in the future so putting it in our rainy day fund, there's nothing wrong with that either." 

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told reporters Friday he’s looking to put forth a property tax cut plan. The idea comes after homeowners received bills this month showing potentially the largest property tax increase in a decade, according to a nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum report that found the increases were driven by state budget changes and local referendums

Fitzgerald didn’t give a target figure for the reduction, but said he’d like it to be significant enough to attract lawmakers’ support. Any final amount would depend on the state’s tax revenue forecast, he added. 

"People are concerned about a bump in their property tax bill," the Juneau Republican said in an end-of-year news conference at the Capitol. 

A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said last week the Rochester Republican is open to the idea, “but it all depends on how successful the economy is next year.” 

An option Republicans are discussing, Fitzgerald said, would involve increasing aid to the state's technical colleges, thus offsetting some increases. 

Evers said he is "possibly" open to looking at that course as well as others. Still, he recommended lawmakers talk to tech college officials it, saying they "may have a preference to continue having a good working relationship with the taxpayers of their districts." 

"So just to assume that the tech colleges are okay with that, I'm not sure that's an accurate perception," he said. "But that's just one way of doing it." 

But he repeatedly emphasized that there's "all sorts" of ways to allocate the potential extra funding, "including saving it for a rainy day." 

The state budget Evers signed into law over the summer included a middle-income tax cut. 

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Briana Reilly covers state government and politics for the Cap Times. She joined the staff in 2019, after working at WisPolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter at @briana_reilly.

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