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Huge budget surplus sets off feeding frenzy

 Huge budget surplus sets off feeding frenzy

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.

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.

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

Walker is to release his tax cut plan Wednesday.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's budget surplus is projected to be about $1 billion by mid-2015.

The updated figures were provided to The Associated Press on Thursday by two sources briefed by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to release the figures.

Gov. Scott Walker is working with Republican legislative leaders on a tax cut proposal using a portion of the surplus. He plans to unveil the plan in his State of the State speech on Wednesday. Walker has said it will cut property and income taxes, but he's not yet released details.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he wants to use some of the money to reduce technical college property tax levies, replacing that revenue with money from the state.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, January 16, 2014 --- 9:48 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he wants to tap a state surplus to reduce property taxes levied and collected by technical colleges in Wisconsin.

Vos tells The Associated Press on Thursday that he is pushing for that approach with Gov. Scott Walker. The governor says he plans to use the surplus to cut property taxes and income taxes, but he won't release details until his State of the State speech on Wednesday.

Vos says "buying down" the technical college levy would be the best way to provide property tax relief statewide without creating big winners and losers.

Technical colleges levied about $796 million in property taxes this fiscal year.

The new state tax collection estimates were to be released later Thursday.

 

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