Wisconsin families with school-aged children would receive a one-time $100 tax rebate this summer and state sales tax would be waived on certain purchases the first weekend in August under a deal Gov. Scott Walker and Assembly Republicans announced Thursday.
The agreement is a variation of an election-year tax cut the Republican incumbent governor first put forward last month that Democrats assailed as a gimmick to help Walker’s re-election bid. While Walker and Assembly Republicans are on board, the Republican-controlled Senate has opposed sales tax holidays before and is not yet on board with the latest proposal.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos denied the timing of the tax breaks, which would come just days or weeks before the Aug. 14 primary, were politically motivated.
“I’ve never thought it was a gimmick,” he said. “Frankly, I am OK with anything to reduce the taxes paid in Wisconsin because we are overtaxed, period. I think this is a creative way to stimulate the economy.”
Democrats accused Walker of trying to buy his re-election.
“This is an election year bribe,” said Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz. “The governor might as well save money on postage and just hand these checks out at polling places in November.”
The Assembly will approve the plan later this month, Vos said. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Republican senators would discuss the idea in a private caucus meeting Tuesday.
Under the deal, families with children ages 5 to 17 as of last year who are living at home would receive $100 for each qualifying kid. The money, estimated to be about $122 million taken from a budget surplus, would be delivered to all families regardless of income sometime in July. That is unchanged from what Walker originally proposed.