Senate GOP Leader Calls for New State Individual Income Tax Cut

The Republican leader of the state Senate is taking another stab at a tax cut, this time focusing on families who earn up to $200,000.

At the same time, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu cast doubt on whether the Legislature will pass a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin, saying an Assembly GOP plan that would create state-run dispensaries won’t pass without changes.

The income tax cut is at least the fourth endorsed in the past year by LeMahieu, a Republican from Oostburg. The others have either failed to pass the Legislature or were vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

While LeMahieu said he was still working on the details of the plan, he told a Wispolitics forum in Madison Thursday that it would expand the income tax bracket that currently covers family income between about $18,000 and $37,000. Families in that bracket pay taxes at a rate of 4.4 percent, the state’s second lowest rate.

Under LeMahieu’s plan, that bracket would expand several fold to cover family income up to $200,000, meaning people who earn more could still pay the lower rate. LeMahieu said Senate Republicans decided on the new approach because Democrats, namely Evers, had criticized previous GOP tax cuts as being too focused on the upper class.

“So we’re working on a plan just to address that, and that’s something that we’re confident that the governor could sign,” LeMahieu said. “A family that makes $150,000 or $200,000 is not the upper class.”

A spokesperson for Evers did not promise the plan would be vetoed but also stopped short of endorsing it, pointing to recent comments by the governor endorsing a middle class tax cut.

“When we deliver tax relief, we should do so responsibly by ensuring we can keep taxes low now and into the future — much like the tax cuts I have been proud to sign into law — and without driving our state into debt,” read a statement from Evers provided by his office.

While state government is sitting on a multi-billion dollar surplus, LeMahieu said his plan would cost the state roughly $1 billion annually, costs that would carry on to future budgets.