Madison – Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Somers) issued the following statement following today’s Senate Labor Committee vote on Senate Bill 267 (SB267):
“As originally written, this bill would have provided much-needed relief to families hard hit by the pandemic. My office has spoken with and assisted hundreds of people coping with Covid-related job loss over the last 14 months, so I understand the hardship and desperation it has caused. That makes this ploy by the Republicans so reprehensible. Senator Nass and Senate Republicans know full well that American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds haven’t yet been approved for this use and might not ever be, yet they dangled the prospect of help in front of struggling families like raw meat to a hungry lion. For the Republicans, this wasn’t about helping people – it was about getting a political win, a ‘gotcha’ on Democrats and Governor Evers. We’ve seen these games time and time again since Governor Evers was elected and particularly since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Wisconsin families aren’t pawns to be toyed with, and this is a ‘game’ I have no interest in playing.”
SB267, authored by Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Tip McGuire (D-Kenosha) would have exempted the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from state income tax, mirroring a federal tax exemption enacted earlier this year. Republicans on the Labor Committee amended the bill to pay for it using the state’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation; other states attempting to cut taxes using ARPA funds have been told by the federal government that this is not an allowable use of the funds.