January 5, 2023 at 9:42 a.m.

The surplus is real

By J. Patrick Reilly-preilly@thedodgevillechronicle.com

There is a lot of fingerpointing with the good news of the state of Wisconsin's budget surplus. It is quite a substantial amount....$6.6 billion.
So now comes the decision or decisions of what can be done to help the state taxpayers. After all, taxpayers are where they dollars came from.
Governor Tony Evers, who was elected to his second term on November 8, called the "unprecedented surplus" an opportunity to make "critical investments in Wisconsinites and the future of our state."
But with our two party system it is not all systems go with the Governor's plan.
Republican Legislative leaders have said they don't want Evers to see the additional money as a "blank check" for state departments as he crafts his budget. Instead, they hope to implement tax cuts, invest in K12 schools, roads and local governments.
Evers will deliver his budget address on February 15. From there, the Joint Finance Committee will spend the next several months holding hearings with state agencies taking the budget apart piece by piece. And deciding how to spend the $6.6 billion in surplus funds.
Once the committee finishes its work, the Assembly and Senate will agree on a budget. The goal is to send it to Evers for passage by July 1.
Who or what areas will benefit from the surplus dollars?
As state and local policymakers consider how to use this historic influx of federal funding, they would be wise to consider how spending plans may impact future budgets as well as the immediate needs that confront them. We know there are many.
We suggest letting your elected state officials know your thoughts.