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Eric Litke
By Eric Litke July 31, 2019

Final budget includes tax increases

How did an 11th-hour campaign pledge by Gov. Tony Evers to "raise no taxes" fare when the rubber met the road at budget time?

Evers proposed a gas tax in his budget that would have broken that promise, but the GOP-controlled Legislature pulled that out, replacing it with a series of fee increases.

Evers had another tax increase that made it through, however. 

He proposed a new 71% wholesale tax on e-cigarettes. A tax increase made it into the final budget that Evers signed, though Republicans lowered the tax to about one-sixth of what the governor proposed. The state's nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects that tax will generate $5.5 million in revenue over the two-year budget.

The final budget made several other tax-related changes, though they aren't all as clearly in the tax increase category.

The budget removed a tax deduction for state-based businesses that move some or all operations out of state (effectively raising taxes) and limited exemptions for certain real estate transfer fees (meaning more would pay the fee). 

And a provision introduced by Evers was pulled out of the budget and passed separately that expanded requirements for online retailers to collect sales tax (not a new type of tax, but increasing the amount of taxation by upping enforcement).

So a number of measures increased the tax being charged in some fashion, and one was unequivocally a tax increase. It was proposed and signed into law by Evers. 

That's a Promise Broken.

Eric Litke
By Eric Litke March 26, 2019

Budget includes tax hikes, but issue is a long way from being resolved

After saying repeatedly on the campaign trail he would consider raising taxes if elected, Gov. Tony Evers abruptly pivoted on the eve of the election, telling both The Washington Post and WISN-TV that he would not raise taxes.

Then Evers' first budget — unveiled Feb. 28, 2019 — included more than $1 billion in tax increases over the two-year period.

That earned Evers a Full Flop on our Flip-O-Meter. The Flip-O-Meter gauges whether a candidate has changed his position, which was clearly the case here.

Examining this as a promise is a little less clear cut. Republicans have vowed to oppose tax increases, so Evers may yet be forced to keep this promise — even if that's not the case under his proposal.

For now, we rate this promise Stalled.

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