Now that the Legislative Fiscal Bureau has estimated a state budget surplus of about $1 billion – $900 million more than originally forecast – state legislators need to work with Gov. Scott Walker on what to do with all that extra cash.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, wants to see some of the money provide property tax relief through technical colleges or delivered through the counties, according to a story on jsonline.com.

“The method is still being discussed, but my preference is to have it go to something that gives a reduction to every (property) taxpayer, not just some,” Vos is quoted as saying.

Because most of the surplus comes from increased tax revenues, state law dictates that half the extra taxes from each of the budget’s tax years be deposited into a rainy day fund. The rest of it is up for grabs.

Gov. Scott Walker confirmed that he’s working with lawmakers on how best to get money back into the hands of taxpayers.

“The additional revenue should be returned to taxpayers because it’s their money,” Walker told the newspaper. “The days of billion-dollar deficits and double digit tax increases are over, and we have led ourselves into a new era of financial responsibility and continued investment in Wisconsin’s priorities.”

How do you think the surplus should be handled?

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9 replies on “How Should the State Surplus be Distributed?”

  1. According to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance the 2013-15 budget spends $4 billion more than the previous. State spending is greater than it has ever been in Wisconsinâ€s history. This budget spends more than it is projected to collect in revenue. Lawmakers are bound by the state constitution to balance the budget. There is a difference between the deficit and the debt. A deficit is spending more than the revenue money coming in. Debt is borrowing and must be paid back. To say the debt has been eliminated is Wrong! The budget increases borrowing by more than $2 billion. Debt payments (loans) were not made in the last legislative session. We have not paid debt payments coming due. Because debt payments were not made more money is needed to pay off the debt as interest and penalties on the loans build up. State debt reaches an all-time high of $14.7 billion. Now Walker wants to replace the income tax, with a higher state sales tax rate that would have to be raised to 13.5%, http://www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/1219wisbudget.pdf

    1. Barb … please reconsider regurgitating liberal talking points. The site you refer to is not reviewing information correctly.

      Please site Governor Walker’s petition to raise State Sales Tax to 13.5%.

      If you are simply going to accept hogwash to establish your position, you are ignoring reality. If you ignore reality you are ill equipped to determine what you should support.

      1. Bottom line… is this report incorrect? Did walker borrow over 2 billion dollars? Did he NOT pay on the money he borrowed last year? Is the debt and the deficit 2 different entities? These are Facts that from what I read here, you all ignore. Where is your Koch brother supported think tank organizations report disputing the report of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance? I will read it. If the only comments you can make are typical right wing, sound like a drunk abusive spouse, then I beg to differ with you on who is ignoring reality here and who is ill equipped to determine what they should support. I will check back for your link.

        1. Barb,

          The link you provided is not from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, it is from a group calling itself the Wisconsin Budget Project. When you read the information you quickly realize that they are offering conjecture to insinuate things that aren’t tied to any facts. Governor Walker did not recommend raising the Sales tax to 13.5%. The table hasn’t any value except to cause people to believe things that are untrue about Governor Walker.

          Governor Walker continues to forward legislation that saves the taxpayers money and intends to correct legislation and policies that burdened us financially with regard to those individuals we employ.

          His latest recommendations included tax relief for the poorest among us. Does that irritate you?

          As long as he continues to provide good governance, I will continue to support him … without regard for those he irritates.

  2. Governor Walker and supportive legislators have done well for the citizens of Wisconsin!

    I suspect the most dynamic action would be to send tax refund checks, which would allow this capital to move into the marketplace more immediately.

    The long term benefits of lowering property tax should propel legislation that achieves that goal.

    1. Actually Bottom line, since the cash hasn’t actually been paid into the state coffers yet, just readjusting the withholding rates for 2014 as quickly as possible, that will allow a little bit of tax relief every week. As an employer I would find a way to highlight that on the paycheck stub, so my employees could see the ACTUAL lowering of taxes as it affects them individually.

      1. I agree that we should reduce withholding rates in light of our current condition. It allows the working public to keep more of what they have earned. The result can only be positive.

  3. I heard over half of the surplus was from Increased personal and corporate income taxes, (Despite tax rate cuts from last year), and about 50 million of the surplus was from sales tax collections increasing. So clearly our economy and jobs are expanding faster than we expected.

    I agree with Av Angel. We should take ALL of the cuts and return them to the Income tax payers. Further reducing and flattening of the rates, will help a great deal.

    Some lawmakers are proposing decreases in property taxes instead. (While i am not opposed to lower property taxes, MOST of those taxes are charged locally by the school district, tech college, County and municipality taxing authorities.

    From a purely political POV it makes more sense to give it back as INCOME tax refunds/ reductions; because that will be felt immediately and broadly among all workers. Where as property tax relief will only be felt by property owners, and not until December of 2014 4 weeks after the Nov election.

    The sooner we get the money out of Madison and back to the people, the better! Income tax is the best/ fastest and fairest way to accomplish that..

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