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Bill to help middle class families pay for heating bills approved by finance panel

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A bill to help middle income Wisconsinites pay for suddenly rising heating bills and related equipment was endorsed Wednesday by the Legislature's finance panel.

Majority Republicans announced the measure this week, in response to the sudden price hikes for propane fuel over the last two months.

Eligible residents could borrow up to $2,500 -- and their household incomes could not exceed 200 percent of the median incomes in their home counties.

Also, finance Republicans voted to give refunds to store label credit card outfits for sales taxes paid on bad consumer debts. Officials said it would reduce taxes by $12 million to card issuers over the next year-and-a-half.

Assembly Finance chair John Nygren said retailers with their own banks already get the refunds -- and the new measure is designed to help Wisconsin retailers like Kohl's Department Stores, which contract for their credit services.

The panel voted 12-4 to spend $35 million of the projected state surplus to train workers for high-demand jobs. Democrats said the package didn't do enough.

Earlier Wednesday, the committee endorsed a revised surplus package which keeps Governor Scott Walker's plan in place for income and property tax cuts.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)