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1040 tax forms instructions printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page. (AP) 1040 tax forms instructions printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page. (AP)

1040 tax forms instructions printed from the Internal Revenue Service web page. (AP)

Madeline Heim
By Madeline Heim May 6, 2022

Macco is mostly right on tax claim, but off base on how Evers sought to raise them

If Your Time is short

  • Democratic Gov. Tony Evers did seek to raise a net $1 billion in taxes in his most recent budget proposal, which Republicans rejected. 

  • GOP lawmakers crafted their own budget that delivered more than $2 billion in tax cuts, and Evers signed it.

  • This came after budget estimates came in showing policymakers had an extra $4.4 billion to work with. 

  • Macco misses the mark in his comment about the higher taxes going toward heating homes. Evers did aim to increase the amount of revenue utilities would contribute to a program focused on energy efficiencies, but that’s certainly not $1 billion worth.

Come Tax Day in April, Wisconsin GOP lawmakers were eager to remind their constituents what they’d done for them in the most recent state budget. 

Several took to Twitter to praise the tax cut at the heart of the most recent Republican-written budget, including Rep. John Macco, R-Ledgeview. 

But he did so with a twist. 

"In honor of #TaxDay, I remind you that Governor Evers wanted to increase your taxes by $1 billion just for heating your homes," he tweeted April 18, 2022. "Instead, Republicans cut your taxes by more than $2 billion." 

We’ve rated a few similar iterations of this claim, and generally, they’ve checked out. But what does heating have to do with it? 

Not a lot, it turns out. 

Most of claim on track, but "heating homes" comment isn’t  

Macco is correct that Evers, a Democrat, sought to raise taxes by $1 billion. A caveat: The governor proposed a net increase of about $1 billion with his plan that would have raised taxes on businesses and the wealthy while providing tax breaks to lower and middle classes. 

Still, an increase is an increase. PolitiFact Wisconsin rated that claim True on April 6, 2021.

He’s also right that Republicans were able to deliver a more than $2 billion tax cut — the largest in state history. 

Another caveat there: Between the time when Evers released his budget plan and when the Republicans passed theirs, state officials found out Wisconsin would take in $4.4 billion more in additional tax collections than previously anticipated. That’s a lot of money that Evers didn’t have available to him when he wrote his budget proposal. And, important to note, Evers signed the budget, which was needed to put the cut in effect.

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But again, the Republican-written budget did deliver the tax cut. 

In September 2021, we rated Mostly True this claim, from state Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills: "Evers wanted to raise your taxes by $1 billion in a pandemic. Republicans stopped him and delivered the largest tax CUT in state history."

So what does heating residents’ homes have to do with Evers’ plan to raise taxes? 

We tried to reach Macco to ask him precisely what he was getting at, but his office did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

In a scan of the governor’s proposed budget, it appears he may have been referring to Evers’ plan to increase the amount of revenue that utilities would contribute to the Focus on Energy program, bringing in an additional $100 million.

Even so, Macco makes it sound like Evers’ entire plan for tax increases rested on that. In reality, the governor sought to increase taxes using other measures, like scaling back a law that allows manufacturers to avoid paying state income taxes and increasing taxes on capital gains for people who earn $400,000 a year or more. 

That part of the claim clearly misses the mark. 

Our ruling 

Macco claimed that Evers wanted to increase Wisconsinites’ taxes by $1 billion "just for heating your homes," but instead, Republicans delivered a more than $2 billion tax cut. 

The general thrust of the claim is accurate, and similar to claims PolitiFact Wisconsin has rated in the past. 

But his comment about heating homes doesn’t fit. 

Our definition for Half True is a statement that is "partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context."

That fits here. 

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Madeline Heim

Macco is mostly right on tax claim, but off base on how Evers sought to raise them

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