Gov Tony Evers 8-4

Gov. Tony Evers speaks with reporters during his coronavirus update on Aug. 4, 2020.

(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s governor is not explaining his change of heart on taxing Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday reversed course and signed legislation that would guarantee businesses in the state that received PPP loans would not pay any state taxes on the money.

“This past year has been challenging and unrelenting for so many, but since the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve been committed to providing economic relief to the folks who’ve been affected by the pandemic,” the governor said. “We know businesses and families across Wisconsin need help now, so I’m proud to be able to deliver $480 million in tax relief for folks across our state.”

Earlier this week, both Republicans and Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature overwhelmingly approved the law the governor just signed.

The U.S. Congress intended for the loans to be tax free, 

However, Evers’ administration in January quietly told businesses in the state they would be taxed.

Republican lawmakers on Friday said the governor’s change of heart is telling.

“The governor’s statement strikes me as disingenuous when he is currently pushing a budget that would drive Wisconsin into the fiscal ditch by repealing Act 10, which has saved taxpayers almost $14 billion, and raising taxes by a billion dollars, including doubling an assessment on heating and electric bills,” Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, told The Center Square.

Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, said the governor had some help in changing his mind.

“I’m glad Governor Evers changed his stance on taxing PPP loans, and signed [the law],” Brandtjen said. “I think the strong bipartisan support to help struggling businesses is a clear indicator that the Governor had little support on taxing the loans.”