State Senate Republicans introduced their own version of the state budget on Tuesday in an effort to solve the standoff with Assembly Republicans. The Senate budget proposal does not include any increases in taxes or fees to fund transportation. Instead, Senate Republicans are relying on $712 million in bonding.

The proposed budget also includes repealing the prevailing wage law, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, eliminating the Personal Property Tax, and raising eligibility for the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program from 185 percent of the federal poverty line to 220 percent. The budget also eliminates Governor Scott Walker’s proposed $203 million reduction in the state income tax and the proposed sales tax holiday for school supplies.

The Associated Press is reporting that reaction from the governor’s office is mostly positive:

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said in an email to The Associated Press that the governor welcomes the Senate’s attempt to move the budget process forward. He says the Senate proposal keeps his school, road and tax priorities largely intact. He promised to keep working with the Senate and Assembly to find a solution.

Assembly Republican leadership made it clear that an immediate resolution to the budget standoff was not likely. In a joint statement, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, and Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said, “there isn’t a reason why we can’t work through the differences to find solutions that can pass both chambers in the coming weeks.”

The Assembly Republicans claimed there was some agreement between the two sides. “It’s clear we agree on a vast majority of the items in the two-year spending plan. We want to make a significant investment in schools and a reduction in taxes for working families,” the three Assembly Republicans said in the joint statement. “We appreciate that Senator Fitzgerald also admitted that additional revenue is needed for our roads; if not today, sometime in the future.”

Vos, Steineke and Nygren also disagreed with the Senate Republicans on expanding eligibility in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, saying they wanted the family income limit raised to 300 percent of the federal poverty line.

Reaction from elsewhere:

Senator Duey Stroebel, R-Cedarburg, released the following statement:

Today, the State Senate released a budget that repeals three taxes including the state forestry mill tax, alternative minimum tax, and the personal property tax.

The personal property tax is a burdensome tax on Main Street Wisconsin created in the 1840s. This repeal is long overdue.

The Republican focus should be to repeal taxes rather than raise taxes. In the end, Republicans are looking to improve our tax rankings. These major tax policy changes will likely continue to improve Wisconsin’s Tax Foundation ranking.

Senator Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield:

“Our constituents sent us here to hold the line on taxes. This budget does that and more. Not only are we eliminating the state property tax, but we are also abolishing the personal property tax, which will give much needed relief to small businesses and startups.

“Senate Republicans have also taken a hard look at how to manage Wisconsin’s transportation budget without any increased taxes. The much-needed repeal of prevailing wage in the state will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, and we will continue implementing recommendations from the DOT audit to ensure tax dollars are spent in the most efficient way.”

Americans for Prosperity:

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin came out in strong support of the state budget plan introduced in the Wisconsin Senate today.

“AFP-WI is pleased to support this bold, fiscally conservative, reform-minded budget that puts taxpayers first,” said AFP-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott. “If passed, this budget will turbocharge Wisconsin’s economy by creating jobs, boosting economic growth, and attracting new business investment. We commend Leader Fitzgerald and Senator Darling for their bold leadership in eliminating three of the worst taxes holding back our economy: the personal property tax, the alternative minimum tax, and the state property tax.”

Bott also commended the budget’s Department of Transportation (DOT) reforms and full repeal of prevailing wage restrictions as top priorities for AFP activists.

Joint statement from the Wisconsin Federation for Children and School Choice Wisconsin:

“We are pleased that both houses of the legislature have now agreed to expand the number of families eligible for school choice. Last week, Assembly Republicans acknowledged that they would be willing to raise the income eligibility limit in the statewide program to the level long enjoyed in Milwaukee and Racine – 300 percent of the federal poverty level. This week, Senate Republicans agreed to raise the income limit to 220 percent of the federal poverty level. We are hopeful that in the end, both houses will conclude that all of Wisconsin’s children should have the same opportunity to attend the school of their parent’s choosing. We encourage the legislature to take this step towards equality. A child’s educational opportunities should not be determined by their zip code.”


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