Assembly schedules hearings on tax cut proposal

File photo.
File photo.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Wisconsin state Assembly is moving forward with Gov. Scott Walker's half billion dollar tax cut proposal, but questions about the plan among some Republicans are holding it up in the Senate.

Lawmakers scheduled a public hearing for Wednesday on Walker's proposal for $406 million in property tax cuts and $98 million in income tax cuts. The tax cuts, which the governor touted two weeks ago in his State of the State address, are made possible by a $912 million increase in state tax collections above previous projections.

The plan ran into problems with some Senate Republicans who have questioned it because it increases by $100 million the shortfall projected for the two-year budget that starts in mid-2015.

Typically, the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee would hold a hearing and vote on the bill before either the Assembly or Senate would take it up. But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is so anxious for the package to move forward, he scheduled public hearings this week so the full Assembly could take it up on Feb. 11.

Vos said Monday he was willing to negotiate with Senate Republicans on small parts of the plan, but he hasn't talked with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald about it yet. Fitzgerald's spokesman Dan Romportl had no immediate comment.

The Assembly's Workforce Development Committee scheduled a Tuesday hearing on Walker's proposal to spend $35 million on a program to increase worker training and connect people with high-demand jobs.

The Assembly Jobs, Economy and Mining Committee scheduled a hearing Wednesday on the tax cut proposal.

No hearings have been scheduled in the Senate. The bills must pass both chambers in identical form before heading to Walker for his signature.

Vos said he hopes to have the Assembly complete most of its work for the year in February and return for maybe one additional day in March.