Governor Evers Calls Special Session to Address Rising Costs Facing Families, Reducing Barriers to Employment, Investing in our Schools

During his 2022 State of the State address tonight, Gov. Tony Evers announced he will be signing an executive order calling the Legislature to meet in a special session to take up his plan to use a portion of the state’s $3.8 billion projected surplus to send a $150 surplus refund to every Wisconsin resident, provide targeted relief for childcare and caregiver costs, and invest in education while holding the line on property taxes.

Gov. Evers’ plan includes sending every Wisconsin resident $150 to help address rising costs Wisconsin families are experiencing and as businesses face challenges getting supplies and resources. Every Wisconsinite will be able to receive the full surplus refund, including for each of their dependents. A family of four, for example, would receive $600 under the governor’s proposal. Most Wisconsinites would have to take no action to receive the refund, which would be distributed through information provided by an individual on their tax returns. For those who do not plan to file an income tax return, including those who receive Social Security benefits, the Department of Revenue will set up an online portal through which they may file claims for the refund.

In addition to measures aimed at addressing rising costs, Gov. Evers’ plan also includes additional provisions aimed at reducing the costs for childcare and caregiving—key proposals to help support Wisconsin’s workforce and address barriers to employment. Gov. Evers’ plan proposes expanding the newly created Child and Dependent Care Credit from 50 percent of the federal credit to 100 percent. This will provide nearly $30 million in tax relief to 107,000 Wisconsinites who claim the federal credit, or about $274 per filer. Most people who are eligible for the credit could receive up to $600 if they are claiming it for one qualifying individual’s expenses or $1200 for two or more qualifying individuals’ expenses.

Additionally, Gov. Evers is proposing to create an income tax credit for qualified expenses incurred by a family caregiver. A majority of Wisconsinites are in income ranges to be eligible for the credit, and most filers will receive up to $500, while married-separate filers will receive up to $250. The governor’s plan would provide an estimated more than $100 million in tax relief to Wisconsinites who are experiencing increased costs and expenses caring for a family member. The governor originally proposed creating the Caregiver Tax Credit in his 2021-23 biennial budget, but the move was rejected by Republicans in the Legislature.

The governor’s plan also invests nearly $750 million into education at every level to continue improving school quality and address the state’s achievement gap while providing $188 million in property tax relief.