Here is a sampling of the reaction coming out of Madison to the news that the State of Wisconsin expects to see $575 million dollars more in tax revenues over the next three years:
Governor Scott Walker:
The projected $543 million surplus is good news for the people of Wisconsin. Our sound fiscal management means we can continue to invest in our priorities while protecting taxpayers.
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.
Wisconsin’s economy is growing, and our tough, but prudent, decisions mean we are better off than we were two years ago.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester):
Our budget reforms have paid off for the state. This will allow us to invest more in our top priorities: reducing taxes and reforming education. I look forward to working with my colleagues to expand our tax cuts and provide additional resources for K-12 education, as was ￼recommended by a committed group of Assembly Republicans.
Wisconsin has made sound budgetary reforms resulting in the surplus. We want taxpayers to know that we’ll stay true to our promise to them. We’ll continue to put them first when balancing the budget while holding the line on taxes.
State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance:
The much improved revenue numbers show our reforms are working and the state’s economy is improving. However, a good portion of the increased revenue is from one-time funding sources. We must continue to be good stewards of the taxpayer’s money and continue to carefully and responsibly craft the state budget.
It is my hope that we can look for ways to improve educational opportunities for our children, lower the tax burden on our citizens and businesses, and prevent a structural deficit.
Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee):
Today’s revenue estimate increase must be used to restore a portion of the $1.6 billion cut from our neighborhood, public schools in the last budget. While the additional $500 million only covers a portion of the largest cut to our public schools in Wisconsin’s history, it’s a significant improvement over the $0 increase per student that Governor Walker’s budget proposed.
We must put the $500 million back into our neighborhood, public schools to provide future generations with the best education possible to compete in a 21st century economy.
Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha):
With new revenue projections, there can be no more excuses for the Republicans’ continued lack of funding for the education of our public school children and job training for our workers. Last budget Republicans cut public schools by $1.6 billion. With new revenue projections they can undo some of the damage they did to our public school classrooms and job training for our workers at our technical colleges and other vital training programs.
State Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah ):
The higher than expected revenue projections is another positive indication that economic activity and business creation is beginning to pick up and that Wisconsin is moving back in the right direction.
I urge the Finance Committee and the Legislature to use part of the increased revenue to eliminate the small structural deficit in the upcoming budget. With these new dollars available it would be difficult to support a final budget that does not use a portion of it to reduce the deficit and ensure our budget remains at a surplus.
State Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), member of the Joint Committee on Finance:
The new revenue projections show that our state will be able to start restoring the $1.6 billion in cuts that were made to our public schools in the last budget. By providing a $275 per pupil funding increase to our local schools, we can make needed investments in our children’s future and hold the line on property taxes.
Investing in worker training and improving accountability in our job creation programs must also be a top priority. Given our current ranking of 44th in job creation, we need to invest in worker training programs to close the skills gap and address the high rates of unemployment in our state.