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(Associated Press) (Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

By D.L. Davis April 6, 2021

Yes, Evers’ budget increases Wisconsin taxes by more than $1 billion

If Your Time is short

  • The Legislative Reference Bureau says the governor’s budget bill would increase taxes over its two-year period by roughly $1.6 billion.

  • It would reduce other taxes by roughly $580 million.

  • That creates a net tax increase of just over $1 billion.

In the middle of the pandemic, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers presented his spending blueprint for 2021-22. The plan generated about the same enthusiasm from Republicans that his various actions aimed at stemming the coronavirus outbreak have. 

Which is to say, very little. If any.

At least one lawmaker called Evers’ budget "terrible proposals," citing increased spending and expanding "welfare."

"These are some of the terrible proposals Governor Evers is pushing for in his budget," state Rep. Rick Gundrum, R-Slinger, said in a March 29, 2021 tweet. "Governor’s ‘Bounce Backward’ Budget increases taxes $1 billion +" 

That figure caught our attention.

Is Evers really proposing to increase taxes by more than $1 billion? 

Crunching the numbers

When asked to back up the claim, Gundrum referred PolitiFact Wisconsin to a March 24, 2021 memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau titled "State Tax and Fee Modifications Included in the Governor's 2021-23 Budget Recommendations." In the memo, the bureau spelled out for lawmakers the impact of the budget proposal.

Here is the key point:

"The changes included in the Governor's budget would increase net taxes by $1,020,728,000 ($464,824,000 in 2021-22 and $555,904,000 in 2022-23) and would increase net fees by $17,162,700 ($7,172,900 in 2021-22 and $9,989,800 in 2022-23)."

Of course, with a net number, there are a mix of increases and decreases.

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For instance, according to a Feb. 17, 2021 report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Evers’ plan would raise taxes on businesses and the wealthy while providing tax breaks to the lower and middle classes.

In addition, the plan would scale back a law that allows manufacturers to avoid having to pay state income taxes, but keep the tax break in place for small operations. The budget would also increase taxes on capital gains for individuals earning $400,000 a year or more.

When asked about Gundrum’s $1 billion tax increase claim, the Legislative Reference Bureau referred PolitiFact Wisconsin to the fiscal bureau memo and noted "the executive budget bill would increase taxes over the biennium by roughly $1.6 billion and reduce them by roughly $580 million, for a net increase of around $1 billion."

The reference bureau said much of this net increase can be attributed to the proposed increase in capital gains taxes as well as the proposed reduction in manufacturer tax breaks.

Two notes of significance:

The $1 billion figure, as mentioned above, is the combined impact of two years of the budget. That is, it’s not $1 billion per year -- something that readers could easily miss based on  Gundrum’s tweet.

And, when Evers’ first budget went to the Legislature two years ago, Republicans rejected similar tax increases on manufacturers and capital gains. They are likely to do the same this time.

Our ruling 

Gundrum said Evers’ budget "increases taxes $1 billion +" 

A budget memo by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau confirms that tally, though it’s worth noting the figure is for a two-year period, not $1 billion for each year.

For a statement that is accurate but needs clarification or additional information, our rating is Mostly True. 

 

 

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Yes, Evers’ budget increases Wisconsin taxes by more than $1 billion

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