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Walker says any new sales tax would be offset with cuts

By SCOTT BAUER
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker said on Monday that he wants to reduce other taxes to offset up to the $187 million a year Wisconsin may start collecting on internet sales as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week.

The options could include expanding the $100 per-child tax credit that was available to families for this first time this summer and tax reductions for senior citizens, Walker told reporters after an event celebrating Wisconsin Cheese Day.

“One way or the other we’d want to get that back to the hardworking taxpayers,” Walker said following an event at the Center for Dairy Research on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. “How we do that I think will be a part of a larger discussion.”

Wisconsin is among many states that are deciding what to do after the Supreme Court last week reversed a decision handed down in 1992 in a case out of South Dakota. For some states, the new ruling will automatically trigger the collection of sales taxes on goods sold by out-of-state retailers. Wisconsin has a law, passed in 2013, that requires an equal reduction in income taxes if federal law requires taxes to be collected on online sales. Whether a Supreme Court ruling can trigger that provision is one thing Walker’s administration is examining.

If a law change is needed, it’s not likely to happen until next year. The Legislature is not planning to return to Madison until January. That’s after the election scheduled for November, in which Walker is running for a third term and the control of the state Senate could be up for grabs.

Wisconsin Revenue Secretary Rick Chandler said he expects the department’s plan for collecting the tax, along with any possible offset, to be included in the next state budget proposal introduced in early 2019. Walker promised a “comprehensive plan.”

He said his plan will ensure that no net tax increase occurs as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling, which he said was designed to make things fair for all retailers.

The actual amount the state collects from online sales taxes is likely be less than $187 million, both since not everyone will pay as required and since some small sellers will probably be exempt, Chandler said.

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