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Wisconsin lawmakers vote on tax cuts, veto powers and hunting fees in final session push

The Wisconsin Legislature completed its work for the session by voting on everything from a massive tax cut to raising out-of-state hunting fees on Tuesday.

The Wisconsin Legislature was racing to finish its work for the session by voting Tuesday on everything from a massive tax cut to raising out-of-state hunting fees.

The Assembly was also voting for the first time on a constitutional amendment that would curb the veto powers of Wisconsin's governor, which are the broadest in the country. That proposal would ultimately need to be approved by voters statewide. The Senate was also expected to vote to reject one of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ appointees to the Department of Natural Resources policy board.

The moves come as the Assembly was planning to finish its work for the session on Thursday, with the Senate wrapping up next month. Lawmakers will then quickly turn to campaigning for the fall election under new maps Evers signed into law on Monday.


The Senate was slated to give final approval to a package of bills that would cut taxes about $2 billion in the first year and $1.4 billion every year after that. Evers has not said whether he will sign the package, or veto it like he has other similar Republican-backed tax cut proposals.

The centerpiece of the package is a measure that would expand the state's second income tax bracket so more income would be subject to a lower rate.

Currently, the second bracket covers individuals earning between $14,320 to $28,640 and married couples making between $19,090 to $38,190. Under the bill, earnings up to $112,500 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples would be subject to the 4.4% rate, down from 5.3% now.

Other measures would increase the income tax credit for married couples, expand the state’s child care tax credit and increase the amount of retirees’ income exempt from the state income tax.

The Senate was expected to reject the appointment of Todd Ambs to the state's Natural Resources Board. Ambs was the only one of four Evers appointees rejected by a GOP-controlled Senate committee following a tense public hearing last year. All four appointees were forwarded by Evers after the Senate in September rejected four DNR board appointees.

Ambs served as deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources before retiring in December 2021.

Ambs was questioned by GOP lawmakers at a December hearing about his online criticism of the Republican Party. Ambs said at that hearing that he would make "no apologies" for speaking out against former President Donald Trump.


The state Assembly was set to approve a bill that would raise bow and crossbow license fees for out-of-state deer hunters for the second time in less than a year in an attempt to shrink a gaping deficit in the state's wildlife management account.

The Republican-authored proposal would raise out-of-state fees for bow and crossbow licenses from $165 to $200, the current cost of a nonresident gun deer license. The $35 increase is projected to generate an additional $409,000 for the account annually, according to DNR estimates.

The move comes as the state Department of Natural Resources looks for ways to shore up its fish and wildlife account. The fund covers a wide host of projects ranging from fish stocking and habitat restoration to paying farmers' wolf depredation claims. The account was built with revenue from hunting and fishing license sales, timber sales and tribal gaming payments.

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