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Wisconsin's budget surplus to top $1B through mid-2015

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The state government coffers will take in $912 million more than projected for the current budget period that runs through mid-2015.  

That's what the Legislative Fiscal Bureau said Thursday afternoon.  

Officials said the state is now projected to finish its budget period with a surplus of just over $1 billion -- up from the $130 million that lawmakers included when they approved the new budget last summer.

Governor Scott Walker touted the surplus as a sign that the Wisconsin economy is humming -- and more workers are putting more money in their pockets.  

The Republican Walker even touted the surplus in a visit to a Stratford industry Wednesday before the financial numbers were disclosed. Walker said the surplus should be returned to taxpayers for both property and income tax cuts.  

Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said nothing's been finalized -- and the governor will announce his final plans during his State of the State address next Wednesday night.  

Meanwhile, the debate is on over how to use the surplus.  

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he wanted as much of the property tax relief as possible to used for reducing the local tax levies for technical colleges. Democrats said some of the money should be used for worker training -- and any tax cuts should help the middle class.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)