Senate says “not so fast” on Gov. Walker’s tax cut plan

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MADISON (WITI) — The Wisconsin Assembly votes on a plan that would turn nearly $900 million of surplus money into property and income tax cuts — but the Senate says “not so fast.”

“A few of my members are saying, ‘Woah, time out,'” Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald says lawmakers in the Assembly are moving too fast on Governor Walker’s tax cut plan. Fitzgerald is criticizing the procedure. He says Speaker Robin Vos sent the tax cut bill through the Jobs Committee, not the Joint Finance Committee — which typically handles fiscal issues.

“It’s inappropriate. The Finance Committee is created to deal with significant financial bills,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald’s sentiment was echoed by an unlikely source — the Assembly’s Democratic leader.

“We’ve got a plan for $900 million and it didn’t go to Finance,” Peter Barca said.

Barca and some Senate Republicans want to see more of the state surplus saved in the rainy day fund, and go toward a projected deficit in the next budget.

“So maybe if it goes to Finance, where we know Republicans in the other house have a lot of ideas similar to ours of taking the fiscally prudent path and not passing an irresponsible plan,” Barca said.

But Vos, who controls the Assembly calendar pressed forward with the vote, saying the budget surplus belongs to Wisconsin residents and should be returned to them as fast as possible.

“I understand that people on the other side of the aisle are going to want to keep the money in Madison, because they want to spend it, give it to government because they’re able to spend it better than families back home, but we fundamentally disagree with that,” Vos said.

The Assembly on Tuesday evening passed the tax cut plan on a bipartisan 62-37 vote.

The vote now sends the bill to the Senate, where Republicans in control have said they want to make changes to how much money is put into savings while not significantly altering the tax cuts.

The Assembly may have to debate the tax cuts all over again in a couple of weeks, depending on what the Senate does.

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