Just weeks in, it's a logjam

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Two years of getting nothing done ahead in Madison.

POLITICAL QUOTE number one: "There is no way we are ever going to agree to an increase in taxes. If you (Gov. Tony Evers) insist that's the only way the tax cut will be funded, you're being disingenuous with the public because that's never going to happen." - Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Political quote number two: "What Republicans are proposing (to pay for a tax cut) simply isn't going to become law." - Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz

Welcome to divided state government 2019 in Wisconsin.

AT ISSUE IS whether Wisconsin will enact a middle-class income tax cut. Both political parties say they're for it. Trouble is, there are dueling plans.

Majority legislative Republicans propose to pay for an annual tax cut by dipping into the current year's budget surplus. Evers and legislative Democrats prefer to pay for a cut by capping tax breaks for businesses.

Democrats say cutting taxes based on a current surplus that could disappear next year is irresponsible. Republicans say capping tax breaks is essentially a tax increase on businesses and could hurt the economy.

Moral of the story: Don't start thinking about how to spend any extra money you might get from a cut.

ALL OF THIS, by the way, is essentially an argument over very little. The average taxpayer might see a cut somewhere in the range of a couple hundred bucks a year. Every dollar counts, of course, but a hundred or two won't change people's way of living.

It does, however, illustrate where the political parties' ideological lines are drawn. Republicans are most committed to breaks for business. Democrats aren't.

Ultimately, voters get to decide which approach is preferred by giving one party or the other the edge.

As for us, we're not particularly opposed to divided government. When each side can block the other, citizens may sleep safer at night.

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