Debate over spending estimated 4.4 billion Wisconsin budget surplus

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Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Wisconsin could see a 4.4 billion dollar budget surplus. It’s the result of stronger-than-expected tax collections as well as better economic forecasts.

Governor Evers and the republican-controlled legislature have varying views on what to do with that money.

Jason Calvi reports from Madison.

Wisconsin debates what to do with an extra 4.4 billion dollars.

The non-partisan legislative fiscal bureau estimates the surplus through 2023 and says tax collection increases in 2021 are unprecedented.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he’d like at least 90% to go to tax cuts.

Vos said, “All tax cuts are good. I am open to negotiation. My focus has always been on property and income. Those are the ones that most families pay and the ones that hurt the most.”

But Democrats say they’d like to see more money go to schools. Right now, the still-being-hashed out Wisconsin budget doesn’t pump enough money into schools to qualify for some federal coronavirus aid.

State Sen. Latonya Johnson said, “We’re underfunding our schools, and education is extremely important, especially coming off a pandemic. We know that there is a lot of ground we need to cover, in terms of catch-up, in terms of educating our children, we know that all school districts are not created equal.”

Before the pandemic in early 2020, Governor Evers vetoed a bill that would have used a budget surplus to go to income tax credits, Governor Evers said he wanted to see some of that money go to schools. It’s possible we could see another Evers veto this time around in 2021.

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