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Wisconsin lawmakers debate how to use projected $620 million budget surplus

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MADISON -- The Wisconsin State Assembly and Senate both passed a bill that could cut income taxes. The bill would give the average tax filer an extra hundred dollars. But it heads to a governor who has criticized the proposal.

Gov. Tony Evers tweeted that the Republican tax plan is "unsustainable." He said it shortchanges the state's rainy-day fund. Wisconsin projects a big surplus, and Republicans say that money should go to tax cuts.

Tyler August

"It's not your money. It's not your money," said Rep. Tyler August, speaker pro tempore (R-Lake Geneva). "So we're going to send it back to the people whose money it is."

Wisconsin lawmakers debated how to use that cash -- a projected budget surplus of $620 million.

David Crowley

"We need to be focusing on how we can re-invest these dollars," Rep. David Crowley (D-Milwaukee) said. "Yes, we can give a hundred dollars to every taxpayer for the whole year, but that doesn't solve the issues of the potholes, that doesn't solve the issues of education here in Wisconsin."

Democrats push for property tax cuts and boosting money for schools.

Jonathan Brostoff

"After years and years of significant, hundreds of millions of dollars of disinvestment, we are finally at a place where we can spend some money, get us back up to a spending level for education that's appropriate," said Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee). "We need to do that. If we don't pay for education on the front end, we're going to pay for it on the back end."

But the GOP plan pays-down state debt and gives a tax break by boosting the standard deduction on next year's taxes.

Joe Sanfelippo

"We've spent a bundle on education in the last few budgets, with massive increases," Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) said. "What we are looking at now is over taxation. More money that was taken in from our citizens than what is needed to run the government, so returning it back to the citizens is smart."

Sanfelippo's fellow Republicans and two Democrats agreed.

Thursday was the state Assembly's last day of the session. Representatives are voting on whether to mandate cursive in Wisconsin schools, whether to allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. during the Democratic National Convention and whether to ban products being labeled "milk" that are not dairy.

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