Wisconsin governor signs bill to make tax rise tougher

MADISON, Wisconsin Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:01pm EST

1 of 3. People crowd the rotunda floor at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin February 22, 2011. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law on Tuesday a bill that will make it tougher to approve state tax increases.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Hauck

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MADISON, Wisconsin (Reuters) - Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law on Tuesday a bill to make it tougher to approve state tax increases, a measure that is not related to the protests over attempts to curb the power of public unions.

The new law, which was proposed by the Republican governor, requires a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate and Assembly to raise income, sales or franchise tax rates instead of a simple-majority vote.

"I went to work today, met with my cabinet, and signed legislation that will help government operate within its means," Walker said in a statement. "Wisconsinites can't turn to raising taxes to balance their own family budgets when times get tough. This bill will ensure that we don't kick the can down the road for a quick budget fix only to slap a long-term tax hike on the backs of Wisconsin taxpayers."

The Republican-controlled legislature gave final approval to the measure on February 8, three days before Walker announced his controversial plan to curb public sector union bargaining rights as part of a plan to tackle a $3.74 billion, three-year budget deficit.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog, Editing by Greg McCune)