State property, income tax cuts to move to Assembly
By Bill Miston
GREEN BAY - The state is expected to have a $912 million surplus in the state budget.But the question is, what to do with it?Well, a plan to cut your property and income tax rates is moving on to the full state Assembly.Current plans Assembly Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker are pushing for are the cutting of property taxes by more than $400 million, saving an average homeowner about $130, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Another step is to cut income taxes by nearly $100 million - which would save all tax filers an average of nearly $50.Another Assembly committee Thursday approved the governor's plan - that received bipartisan support - to dole out $35 million for workforce training.The proposals are set to go before the full Assembly next week.At a bill signing event in Green Bay Thursday, Gov. Walker says he expects much of his budget surplus proposals to go forward - as they stand."I think the more people look at that, the more positive they feel," said Walker. "Again. Tweaks we can make - whole-sale changes will be a lot harder. And I don't think we're going to head there."But some fellow Republican Senate leaders question the speed at which the legislation is moving through the Assembly."It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me, but it seems that's where they're headed," said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, in a phone interview with FOX 11.Fitzgerald says he's not against what the governor and the Assembly are bringing forward. But expects the Senate will to take some time with the numbers; especially if the tax cuts would cause the 2015 budget's deficit to rise by $100 million."The good news is that we have the surplus. We think the economy is expanding and job creation is happening in the state and that's really what our message is, right now."Democrats, like Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, say they wants to see more options for use of the surplus."It's not as simple as saying, okay, we're giving the money back, because there is structural deficit, there is borrowing, there is better ways that money can be spent," said Hansen.Assembly Democrats plan to unveil alternatives to Walker's plans next week. That includes putting more money in the state's rainy day fund than the governor intends.Fitzgerald says the Senate is still working on putting a package together and expects that to take a while.
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