Huge budget surplus sets off feeding frenzy - WBAY

Huge budget surplus sets off feeding frenzy

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - News that Wisconsin's budget surplus is projected to top $977 million is setting off a feeding frenzy in the Capitol among lobbyists, special interest groups, and lawmakers.

Gov. Scott Walker is saying he wants to return the money to taxpayers in the form of property and income tax cuts.

"The people of this state were the primary reason why this surplus and this revenue outlet was created," Walker said. "I want to see that money go right back in to what got us here in the first place and that was in improving the economy in the past three years we've cut taxes a billion and a half dollars."

But Democrats and liberal advocacy groups said Thursday the money should be used to help the middle class with programs that will put people back to work. There are also calls to increase spending on public schools and higher education and plug spending holes in the Medicaid program.

The large amount of money had politicians all around the state voicing their opinions about what should be done with the money.

Republican Senate President Mike Ellis says "everybody and their cousins from other states" will be trying to get a piece of the money.

State Senator Dave Hansen (D Green Bay) believes the money should be used in the state's schools.

"What we do owe is quite a bit of money to public education," Hansen said. "We've taken a lot of money out of the university system our tech schools that's one of the areas that money could go."

Other Democrats such as State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber, who represents Appleton, agrees that education is an important place to use some of the money.  She also says she wants to make sure the surplus goes to the right people.

"I would encourage the Governor to use it to fund technical colleges and if we are going to do a tax cut, to make sure we look at earned income tax credits and the other credits that help the people who are working poor people and not just do a tax cut to help people who make a lot of money," Schaber said.

Walker is to release his tax cut plan Wednesday.

The Associated Press contributed to the information in this article

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