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Wisconsin Governor Approves Budget with More Than 100 Vetoes


 Or not

A day after signing the Wisconsin 2015-17 budget, Republican Governor Scott Walker announced his candidacy for president. As he shifts focus to the national front, those left behind in Wisconsin will deal with the more than 100 budgetary changes made by the governor’s veto.

The governor used his veto to make 104 changes to the budget. His veto message praised a budget that, “including my vetoes,” will continue to make Wisconsin "more prosperous, more independent and more efficient.”

Two vetoes deal specifically with sales tax:

  • Sales tax exemption for amusement device proceeds
    • “I am vetoing these sections because I object to the overly borad exception it creates to the imposition of the sales and use tax on digital goods. Such a broad exception may have unintended administrative and fiscal consequences both in the short term and the long term in our increasingly technology-driven age.”
  • Sales tax exemption for construction materials
    • “I am vetoing this provision because the language as drafted is much broader than the scope of the intended legislation as it would apply to construction materials purchased by a contractor for any project.… I support the intended provision and encourage separate legislation to enact the intended exemption. As such, I support a sales and use tax exemption for goods sold to a construction contractor, while fulfilling a real property construction activity, when the goods are transferred to Wisconsin elementary and secondary school districts, municipalities or nonprofit entities if such goods will be a part of a facility located within the state.”

According to the governor’s press release, the new budget “ensures state government is working within the means of taxpayers and is more efficient, more effective, and more accountable.” Not everyone sees it that way. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca reportedly said it “throws the people of Wisconsin under Governor Walker’s campaign bus” (Washington Post).

The Wisconsin 2015-17 State Budget goes into effect Tuesday, July 14, 2015.


Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.