Assembly Speaker Robin Vos won’t guarantee support for a middle-class tax cut this year following Gov. Tony Evers’ veto of the GOP’s plan.

Vos’ comments at a WisPolitics.com luncheon Thursday came a day after Evers for the first time exercised his veto power over a disagreement with Republicans on how to fund a tax cut for middle-income tax filers.

The Rochester Republican said it’s “too early to tell” whether Republicans will back a middle-class tax cut plan given Evers’ budget, to be introduced Feb. 28, will likely include a number of “poison pills,” such as a tax increase on manufacturers or a Medicaid expansion.

“As we move to the next stage, those are phony numbers, so that’s why I can’t say yes we will definitely have a tax cut or yes we will not. We know we had the opportunity for a tax cut, whether there’s another opportunity, we’ll see,” Vos said.

Republicans’ middle-class tax-cut plan, which would have given about 2 million filers an average tax cut of about $170, passed both GOP-controlled chambers earlier this month and would have relied on one-time surplus funds to finance it. Evers vetoed that plan Wednesday. He instead plans to introduce a tax-cut plan in his budget next week that would rely on a cap on state tax credits for large manufacturers to fund about half of it. How the other half would be funded remains unknown.

Democrats have pointed to a possible influx of federal dollars from Medicaid expansion as one way to fill the gap.

Vos’ comments drew swift criticism from Evers spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff.

“The governor is unwavering in his commitment to deliver middle-class tax relief that is responsible, fair, and sustainable,” she said. “It’s sad the speaker can’t say the same.”

Vos also said “it’s too early to tell” whether the Republican-controlled chamber will try to thwart Evers’ veto through an override.

A veto override is unlikely because it would require two-thirds support from members of the Assembly and Senate, meaning some Democrats would need to sign on to the effort.

Marijuana proposal

Vos splashed cold water on the governor’s sweeping plan to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and legalize it for medical use.

Vos, who has been open to medical marijuana, called Evers’ plan “preposterous” for opening the door to recreational use. Evers’ plan, introduced earlier this week, would enable people to legally access the drug with a physician’s recommendation to treat any of a list of “debilitating medical conditions,” including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.

Other parts of the plan call for removing all penalties for the possession, manufacture or distribution of 25 grams or less of marijuana, and allowing people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana to have their records expunged.

“There is no chance Republicans are going to go for recreational marijuana. They’re not going to decriminalize it so people can carry around baggies of weed all over the state,” Vos said.

Vos added his vision for marijuana legalization is far more restrictive, allowing medical use for those who suffer from a chronic condition. He said Evers’ marijuana proposal does not belong in the budget debate.

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Capitol reporter

Riley Vetterkind covers politics and state government for the Wisconsin State Journal. He can be reached at (608) 252-6135 or rvetterkind@madison.com.