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GOP enthusiasm cools for Walker's proposed child credit

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker arrives for the State of the State Address Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018 in the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol in Madison. (Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

MADISON (AP) -- Republican enthusiasm for Gov. Scott Walker's proposed $122 million child rebate appears to be cooling.

Walker proposed Wednesday giving every family $100 for each child living at home under age 18. The money would be delivered this fall, shortly before he stands for re-election.

He talked about his plan in Ashwaubenon Thursday.

"Because the way it goes back and the future it'll be credit that you can get ongoing on your income taxes. But because income taxes have already started, the process has already started, for this year for calendar 2018 for the taxes we paid off of earnings in 2017, this is being done to something similar to what the state did back in the year 2000 where they did a sales tax rebate. This will be a rebate back," said Gov. Walker.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Thursday it will take some time to see if senators want to pass it. He says the proposal needs to "sit in the sun for a couple of days and we'll see what it does for the momentum of it."

Conservative talk radio host Jay Weber blasted the idea on Twitter saying the idea "reeks" of "vote buying" and "game playing" that Republicans have long criticized Democrats for doing.

"My concern is he is going to talk about doing it knowing that it will be hard to get support from other republican legislators because of the price tag and then he can use it as a campaign talking point but he will not really use it to get anything done that will really help those families who need it," said State Rep. Amanda Stuck.

"They will say any and everything to try and distract from the good work that we've done but they can't deny that this is a good idea," Walker said to his critics.

The money would be paid out this year to all families with children under the age of 18. Walker's office says there are 1.2 million qualifying children in the state in 671,000 households.

If approved by the Legislature, families would receive notice from the state that they may be eligible. They would then apply for the cash payment on the Department of Revenue's website.

Starting next year, the money would come as a refundable tax credit on income tax returns.

Total cost would be about $122 million a year, which Walker would fund this year from the budget surplus.

Assembly Republican Speaker Robin Vos said Wednesday he was "very confident" the idea would quickly pass.

Mobile app users, tap here to take our poll on whether you agree or disagree with the proposal.

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