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Northeast WI Lawmakers Talk About Budget Surplus

Area lawmakers are reacting to new estimates that the current state two- year budget will end in 2015 with a $1 billion surplus

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Area lawmakers are reacting to new estimates that the current state two- year budget will end in 2015 with a $1 billion surplus. The question now is what to do with that cash?

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau projected Thursday higher than anticipated tax collection will create this surplus.  Gov. Walker is expected to announce his plans for it during his State of the State address next week.                          

The total budget surplus is estimated to reach $977 million, fueled by roughly $900 million more in tax revenue than previously projected.

Thursday Gov. Walker released a statement saying, "The additional revenue should be returned to taxpayers because it's their money and my administration will work with the Legislature to determine the most prudent course of action."

Many lawmakers suspect the governor will push for some kind of property or income tax relief package.

However, they hope he also moves cautiously, because these numbers- while positive - are based on projections.

"I'm of the mind lets be very cautious here in what we do," said Senator Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay). "We've seen these rosy estimates disappear in the past - just like these appeared.  The economy has gotten better - but it could get worse too."

"If there is a tax cut, and who is against a tax cut, I would hope more of that would go toward lower to middle income families," said Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). "The others were skewed for the wealthy and it's time to share the wealth with everybody."

Sen. Cowles says if you take away the surplus, the state faces a $725 million structural deficit.

Sen. Hansen hopes some of the surplus will go toward his Student Loan Debt bill, which would allow college graduates to refinance their student loans.

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