Sen Devin LeMahieu

In-coming Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, speaking to reporters at the State Capitol. 

(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers in Madison say the final piece of the state’s next budget is a “game changer.”

The Republicans who control the state’s budget writing panel, the Joint Finance Committee, on Thursday approved a series of tax cuts.

“When we got news of the massive new surplus, we promised transformational tax cuts. Today, we’re delivering on that promise with a $3.4 billion tax cut package,” Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, said.

Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau this month reported the state will see an extra $4.4 billion in unanticipated tax revenue. Republicans have been promising for weeks to use the extra money to cut taxes.

On Thursday, they unveiled their plan.

The Republican’s tax cuts include:

  • A $2.3 billion income tax cut
  • $650 million in property tax relief
  • $200 million in personal property tax relief for businesses across the state

Republicans are also proposing $40 million over the next two years for tax cuts for active duty military members, and another $10 million to help parents pay for child care.

“This year has been incredibly difficult for individuals, families, and businesses, and this money will result in significant income, property, and personal property tax cuts to provide much needed relief,” JFC co-chair Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, said.

Democratic lawmakers continue to say Wisconsin should spend the $4.4 billion in extra money on schools, roads, and daycare options for families.

But Republican Sen. Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, said the tax cuts included in the budget will help families more than any new state spending.

“The typical Wisconsin family will see $1,200 in savings ($900 in income taxes, $300 in property taxes) through this unprecedented plan,” Bernier said in a statement.

The question remains, however, what steps will Gov. Tony Evers take with the tax cut proposal?

The governor did not rule out tax cuts when he spoke to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier this month, but he also said he wanted to see some changes to the Republican’s overall budget formula.

"They have to fix the budget decisions that they’ve made already, especially around federal funding and our schools and our universities and our technical colleges," he said.

Gov. Evers has said he’s not ruling out vetoing the entire state budget. That budget is supposed to be complete and on his desk by July 1.