GREEN BAY - It seems the state has a little more money to work with than previously thought, more than $500 million more.
That's according to a new report released today by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. And already, lawmakers are debating what to do with the money.
"We have the opportunity to both provide tax relief as well as invest in resources and infrastructure in our state that are really going to help us position ourselves for the future," explained State Representative Andre Jacque (R-De Pere).
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau credits higher than expected individual income tax collections for the boost.
State Representative Andre Jacque would like to see property tax relief as well as money for schools. Other Republicans want to deepen income tax cuts as well.
In a statement, Governor Scott Walker appears to be on the same page.
He wrote, "The surplus and increased revenue projections should be invested in aid for our schools, lowering income taxes for middle-class families, holding the line on property taxes, and building our rainy day fund."
However those on the other side of the political aisle say it should all go to education.
"I believe we've had a lot of cuts to our education programs and that really we should take the money and invest it in education because that helps us all in the future," explained State Representative Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton).
One idea is to increase public school spending. The Governor's current budget proposal freezes spending.
Area public school officials hope that changes.
"For every $50 increase in revenue limits per student, is an additional million dollars for the school district and when we're looking at no increase at all, again our budget deficit was estimated at $5 to $6 million and we would certainly have to look at making reductions if there was no increase," explained Green Bay Area Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Alan Wagner.
Exactly how the money will be spent remains to be seen.
The Joint Finance Committee expects to complete its work on the budget by early June.
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