Joint Finance Committee rejects governor's plans to make tax agents permanent

Democratic Governor Tony Evers proposed making permanent 38 Wisconsin Department of Revenue positions to concentrate on collecting delinquent taxes, but Republicans rejected that plan.

Associated Press

May 25, 2023

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Seven state legislatures sit behind a dais equipped with microphones and nameplates, with other people sitting behind them along with the U.S. and Wisconsin flags and a wall-mounted sign reading Joint Committee on Finance and Since 1911, with another desk for speakers and equipped with microphones and two chairs in the foreground and facing the dais.

The Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Finance Committee meets at the Wisconsin Capitol on May 23, 2023. On May 25, Republicans on the committee voted to reject a plan put forward by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers that would make permanent 38 positions in the state Department of Revenue focused on collecting delinquent taxes. (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

AP News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Legislature’s budget-writing committee rejected Gov. Tony Evers’ plan on May 25 to make permanent nearly 40 revenue agent positions that are devoted to collecting delinquent taxes.

The 2017 to 2019 state budget established 38 agent positions within the Department of Revenue to focus on collecting unpaid taxes. Under that spending plan, the positions were scheduled to expire in September 2021. The 2019 to 2021 state budget extended the positions through June 2025.

The Department of Revenue estimates the positions help collect about $39 million in delinquent taxes annually.

Evers, a Democrat, included provisions in his 2023 to 2025 state budget that would make the agent positions permanent at a cost of $2.8 million annually.

Republicans who control the budget committee voted May 25 to scrap that plan and extend the positions through September 2025. The move sets up the committee to decide the fate of the positions in the next two years.

Democrats on the committee complained that the decision throws the future of the positions into question, making it harder to recruit to fill them and putting $39 million in tax revenue in jeopardy every year.

Republicans didn’t answer the Democrats, moving directly to the vote without any debate.

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