February 9, 2016

Debating how to spend a surplus

A report released by the state on Thursday indicates Wisconsin should end its fiscal year with a budget surplus of about $485 million. Republicans say the money should be used to provide an income tax cut for residents, but Democrats are asking for other options to be considered.

State Representative Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) serves on the Legislature’s budget writing committee. While he admits an income tax cut could help working families in Wisconsin, he worries that majority Republicans will focus too much on sending relief toward higher earners. Richards questions whether the money might be better spent restoring areas that received deep cuts in the last state budget.

The Milwaukee Democrat says many schools around the state continue to struggle from the nearly $800 million in cuts they received this biennium, while thousands of people were also removed from medical assistance programs because of funding reductions. Richards says those are the types of issues that need to be fixed as the state prepares to consider its next budget this spring.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:12)

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