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Evers recommends $150 tax rebate for Wisconsinites, but Republicans question the plan

Gov. Tony Evers
Chuck Quirmbach
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers shakes hands with South Milwaukee School Board member Angie DeFord at Avenue Coffeehouse in South Milwaukee Thursday.

How do you like the idea of a $150 state tax rebate for every person in your household?

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is promoting the idea, but it's prompting quick criticism from Republicans who would have to go along with the plan in order for it to take effect.

Evers said the money would come back to people in a separate check after filing their income tax returns. The state revenue department will then use that to determine how many people are at that address.

The state also has a way to send the rebate check to people who don't file a tax return, he said.

Evers is proposing the rebate the same week state revenue projections estimate Wisconsin will have nearly a $4 billion state budget surplus by the middle of next year — nearly 3 billion more than was expected eight months ago.

"Three billion dollars is too much. We have a rainy day fund that is full, and so, we felt it's important to give the people's money back to them in a way that's meaningful," he said.

Evers also said the debate will help people cope with the current bout of inflation.

Evers meets with other customers at the Avenue Coffeehouse in South Milwaukee Thursday afternoon.
Chuck Quirmbach
Evers meets with other customers at the Avenue Coffeehouse in South Milwaukee Thursday afternoon.

Republicans note that Evers criticized a smaller rebate plan offered by former GOP Gov. Scott Walker during the Evers versus Walker election battle in 2018. But Evers said things are different now.

"We have inflationary pressures that didn't exist back then. So this is about pandemic relief, as it relates to that. So, it's a completely different thing," he said.

Evers said the rebate plan would cost about $800 million. He also wants $132 million to go to targeted tax credits for caregivers and families and to put $750 million into education.

State Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) said Senate Republicans won't gamble with a projected state surplus to fund "Tony Evers reelection gimmicks."

In a press release, the lawmaker said the state is getting a huge amount of federal money from the Biden administration, and Evers should use some of those funds to pay for the just-announced $1.7 billion plan. LeMahieu's staff did not make him available for an interview.

Other Republicans said they want tax cuts, but not until after the November election. Evers said his point is, why not give some money back now?

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