Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, a Democrat, said that voters would prove that they're "not smart" if they reject Governor Evers' proposed sales tax hikes.
During the annual Wisconsin Counties Association Legislative Exchange, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asked Bewley if the sales tax were put to a referendum and voters didn't support it, that would mean that they had rejected these new taxes.
"No, perhaps it means that they're not smart, you know?" Bewley responded.
"Janet, do you want to rethink that?" a visibly shocked Vos said. "I mean, I disagree with people a lot, but I don’t think people who disagree with me are dumb. You just basically said all constituents are dumb who disagree with you."
Bewley didn't immediately take her statement back, but an hour later issued a press release clarifying her remarks.
"What I should have said is that the voters of Walworth County are not smarter than the voters in my district, and that there’s no good way to deal with a system that forces people to go to referendum in order to pay for essential services, such as having an ambulance come when you call for help," Bewley said.
Pointedly, Bewley did not apologize for her remarks, but instead attacked Republicans.
"It has nothing to do with being smart, it has everything to do with the Republican-controlled legislature starving local governments of the resources they need to protect their communities."