Despite the state of Wisconsin spending more on K-12 education than ever before, Gov. Tony Evers announced in Wauwatosa on Wednesday that he is vetoing the tax cut passed by the state legislature.

Evers accused legislative Republicans of playing politics rather than risk giving the governor a win on education spending.

“But at the end of the day, when Republicans choose to play politics instead of keeping their own promise on working together to find common ground on something they have supported in the past, I’m not the one who’s losing,” Evers said. “The kids are losing, our schools are losing, property taxpayers are losing.”

Evers wanted $250 million more for education spending out of the projected $620 million budget surplus and to provide $130 million in tax relief.

Republicans passed a $200 million tax cut instead that would have resulted in the average taxpayer receiving a $100 tax cut, according to an analysis from the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE). In addition, the GOP plan would have lowered business taxes by nearly $45 million and paid down the state’s debt by $100 million.

On Monday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) posted on Twitter that there was no reason the Republican tax cut should not be signed by the governor.

“Once again, we can return surplus tax dollars back to the hardworking taxpayers,” Vos said. “This bill cuts income taxes, reduces the personal property tax, pays down debt & invests in the rainy day fund. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be law.”

State Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg), posting on Twitter, criticized Evers’ decision to veto the tax cut.

“The tax cut @GovEvers just vetoed would have saved the average married couple earning $70,000 – $80,000 a year $197,” Stroebel wrote. “It’s disappointing that @GovEvers thinks this money belongs to state government not the taxpayers.”

State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua), the Republican candidate for Congress in the special election in the 7th district, also expressed his disappointment on Twitter with Evers’ decision.

“The surplus belongs to the people, not the government!” Tiffany wrote. “Very disappointing @GovEvers decided to veto the middle class tax cut.”

Political communications expert Brian Fraley, the president of Edge Messaging, said legislative Republicans got a boost this fall by the governor’s decision to veto the tax cut.

“The Democratic Governor of the State of Wisconsin just vetoed a massive tax cut. In an election year,” Fraley said. “He’s not on the ballot this year. But that veto will be. The GOP’s push for veto-proof legislative majorities just got a major boost.”

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