With Congress tackling tax reform, Assembly GOP eyes changes at state level

Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

As congressional Republicans are tackling tax reform at the federal level, Assembly Republicans have announced they’re planning to look into a comprehensive overhaul of the state tax system.

To work on the state-level overhaul, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee is restructuring to add four lawmakers — three Republicans and one Dem — to the 12-member committee. It’s also creating four subcommittees tasked with doing deeper dives into the state’s tax code.

But few details were available as to what exactly would be targeted and what the timeline is going forward, with Committee Chair John Macco saying the goal is to have an “ongoing, comprehensive discussion,” complete with “big ideas that move Wisconsin to a new era of economic growth.”

Asked if he was seeking to reduce the state’s reliance on the income tax as a revenue stream, Macco, R-Ledgeview, responded that both the income tax and property tax are “out of whack right now.”

“I don’t know what that will look like l, but I can tell you from a purely economic standpoint those two are dragging us down,” he said.

Still, he didn’t say whether he was looking at moving the state toward a flat tax, as proposed by Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, in a transportation and tax plan he released in May. But Macco said “something needs to be found” in the state’s income tax structure.

Macco also said if Congress failed to pass the federal GOP tax overhaul bill, Wisconsin “can still lead on that.”

“I think the people of the state of Wisconsin ought to have a good federal policy that’s simple, easy and fair, but I think they ought to have one on the state level too,” he said.

But he said if Congress does act, it would be critical for the state to as well, especially if the state and local tax deduction is eliminated.

Congressional Republicans released their plan today, which cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, lowers individual rates, increases the standard deduction and makes changes to what may be deducted from income.

See the Around Wisconsin for more on the federal tax plan:
https://www.wispolitics.com/category/around-wisconsin/

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