The results of the 2022 election can be described as the election of the status quo. Governor Tony Evers won another four-year term and Republicans will continue to control the State Assembly and Senate.
When the 2023-24 Session of the Legislature convenes in January, Republicans will control the Assembly 64-35, a gain of three seats, and Republicans will also hold a majority in the Senate 22-11, a gain of one seat.
Senator Joan Ballweg, NFIB member from Markesan, moved up the leadership ladder and will serve as Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Caucus.
Representative Nancy VanderMeer, NFIB member from Tomah, moved into a leadership role in the Assembly, and will serve as Secretary of the Assembly Republican Caucus.
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said he expects a “status quo” session working with Governor Evers, who last session vetoed a record 126 bills approved by the Republican controlled Legislature. It’s likely the Republican majority of the Legislature will continue to have policy disagreements over taxes and spending as both sides debate how to best utilize an estimated $5 billion budget surplus.
The Governor has suggested he will propose a significant increase in state funding of K-12 schools, while Republicans are suggesting tax reform, which would include working toward a flat individual income tax rate.
However, even with a budget surplus, Governor Evers has not ruled out increasing taxes as he begins work on the 2023-25 budget proposal. Last session, the Governor’s budget proposal included tax increases of $1.1 billion, although later he signed a budget bill that actually reduced taxes by $2 billion.
NFIB’s tax reform agenda will include reducing the individual income tax rate, and the elimination of the personal property tax.
Representative Mark Born, Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee, said, “For over a decade Wisconsin Republicans have worked hard to return more tax dollars to hard working Wisconsinites, and we aren’t going to let our state go backwards with tax increases.”
The budget bill will be introduced in February, 2023, referred to the Joint Committee on Finance, and approved by the Legislature by July 1st.