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As I See It

Wisconsin lawmakers continue to just sit on state surplus



It should be a priority, but for Wisconsin lawmakers, it is just another in a long line of issues they are ignoring. The state of Wisconsin continues to sit on a huge budget surplus. But they are clearly in no hurry to return it to taxpayers. Wisconsin’s state budget surplus is more than $7 billion, but instead of being returned to our pockets, the money continues to sit in a bank, far from those who it could help battle this persisting inflation. Other states have come up with ways to spend their surplus, much of it from federal Covid relief money, but not Wisconsin. For two years our elected officials in Madison have largely ignored the problem. Governor Tony Evers had a plan Republicans couldn’t support, and legislators passed tax cut bills that Evers couldn’t stomach. Now, they’re not even trying, with our state representatives giving themselves the rest of the year off. Wisconsin has a higher tax burden than 31 other states, many of which have used their surplus to return the money to taxpayers. Surely there must be some plan that would find favor with both parties. But it doesn’t look like we should expect any action for the rest of 2024.

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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  1. Tom

    July 2, 2024 at 9:18 am

    Do not forget that WI has a Democrat Governor so why purpose sensible spending or refunding to taxpayers that he would veto anyway?

    • walden

      July 6, 2024 at 4:26 pm

      WI started the last budget cycle with a $7 billion surplus. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and NPR that number is expected to decrease to $3.13 billion by next June due to extra funding provided to local governments and record increased funding to public schools.

      If the Gov Evers veto pen holds after judicial review, the increases to public schools multiply in approaching budget cycles, which will burn off the remainder of the surplus.

      There, the make-believe problem subject of this ridiculous editorial has been solved.

      Is WIZM willfully ignorant of these facts so they can continue to print propaganda? You decide.

  2. Libertarian Guy

    July 2, 2024 at 9:19 am

    I I have to agree with you this time SRS. This is what happens when we are limited to 2 political parties that posses all the power and eliminate all competition and dissenting voices. Voices like those of Robert F Kennedy, Libertarians, green party candidates, and even exercise internal control within the two major parties that prevent other voices from being heard. This is why we have and a cognitively impaired nominee moving forward to the general election. it’s a clear case of politics over country. So Governor Evers the Democrat and the Republican legislature are locked in battle and the Wisconsin public waits to have their money returned to them. If you want to change, then broadcasters like yourself, the Wisconsin broadcasting Association, need to include all candidates in debates and provide them with equal time.

  3. walden

    July 2, 2024 at 4:11 pm

    “return to taxpayers” means different things to different people. The legislature wants a reduction in tax rates, elimination of taxes on retiree’s income, and or a tax rebate. Gov Evers thinks he knows best how to spend the surplus and wants to return it by more social spending benefiting certain groups.

    It’s kind of last week’s “solving homelessness.” Until you are ready to define your terms the discussion isn’t worth having. “Just do something” as WIZM seems to be promoting would be irresponsible.

    • LG

      July 2, 2024 at 10:18 pm

      Excellent points Walden. Evers seems, like most politicians, to think it is his money. And yes, returning it to taxpayers sometimes means just spending it. I appreciate your perspective on this and your other postings.

  4. nick

    July 4, 2024 at 8:24 am

    I agree with the writer of this article

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