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As I See It

Lawmakers can’t agree what to do with newfound fortune

Scott Robert Shaw

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Even when the news is good, our politicians can’t celebrate together. The state of Wisconsin got some good news this week when it was learned that tax collections are higher than projected. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has told lawmakers that general fund tax collections will be $753 million more than projected over the next three years. Everyone agrees that is good news. It certainly gives lawmakers a windfall as they try to put together the next state budget. But, predictably, lawmakers can’t agree on what to do with the newfound fortune. Governor Tony Evers wants to use some of the money to pay down state debt, spend some on technical colleges and worker training, and put the bulk of the money in the state’s rainy day fund. Others want to put all the money into savings, and others want to use the money to maintain state buildings. Some even suggest using the money for tax cuts. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says now is not the time to go on a spending spree with one-time revenues. But since this is one-time revenue, that would make any tax cuts temporary. A better idea would be to use these hundreds of millions of dollars to fill our hundreds of millions of potholes. Lawmakers have struggled for years to figure out how to pay to fix our roads. Now that this money has literally fallen into their lap, they could make a lot of road repairs without having to raise taxes. That should be something we could all celebrate together.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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