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Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald pleased with passage of tax cut plan

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says Wisconsin has finally escaped a dark economic time.

That's after his house approved a half-billion dollar tax cut using a newfound billion-dollar budget surplus. Tuesday's vote was 17-15, with moderate Republican Dale Schultz of Richland Center joining all Democrats in voting no.

The package now returns to the Assembly to act on changes that Republican leaders recently negotiated.

One of those changes would cut state spending by $38 million, so the next budget starts with a smaller deficit in mid-2015. The average property tax bill would be cut by $131 in December, and the typical income tax cut for next year would be $46.

Also, manufacturers and farmers would get an additional income tax break. Republicans call that fuel for the economy.

Minority Democrats call it a corporate giveaway to the wealthy. The Dems tried but failed to pass their own package for using the surplus.

Among other things, it would have cut local property taxes by a half-billion dollars on a one-time basis -- added more money to the government's rainy day fund -- and restored state aid to technical colleges and rural K-12 schools.

Also Tuesday, the Senate voted unanimously to use $35 million from the surplus for expanded worker training programs.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)