One of the bills TLW Members lobbied on at Legislative Day was AB 717 relating to state tax exemption from the Restaurant Revitalization Act. Governor Evers signed AB 717 into law yesterday, March 7, 2022!
The Tavern League strongly pushed for the passage of Assembly Bill 717, authored by Senator Roger Roth and Representative Robert Wittke. The bill creates a tax exemption for income received in the form of a grant from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was enacted at the federal level under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. It is estimated that Wisconsin’s taverns and restaurants took a total of $200 million of these grants.
Many taverns and small restaurants were unable to qualify for federal COVID-19 funds under the federal Payment Protection Program. In response, Congress created a grant program to specifically help them. Grants received under this program were the lifeblood of many small establishments in Wisconsin, many of which may have gone under without the assistance.
Overall, it is estimated that over 15% of the restaurants and taverns in Wisconsin closed their doors for good due to the pandemic. Assembly Bill 717 exempts funds received under this program from the state income tax, much like PPP funds were exempted last year.