Wisconsin may have a firm hold on Paul Bunyan's Axe, but Minnesota has the Badger State beat with its budget surplus.
While Wisconsin's budget, enacted in July, sets the state up for a $210 million structural deficit, legislators across the Mississippi are arguing over how to spend a $1.9 billion surplus.
Some of Minnesota's extra money must go to its budget reserves, but the remaining $1.2 billion is up for grabs. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is calling for the money to be spent on road and bridge improvements and expanding early childhood education.
But Minnesota Republicans argue a surplus that large is a sure sign the state has overtaxed its citizens. And while Dayton has expressed a willingness to make some tax reductions and to abandon his proposal for a gas tax hike, the state has also seen a slowdown in new hires, wage growth and new home purchases, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
Under the state budget Gov. Scott Walker signed in July, Wisconsin legislators will have a $210 million projected shortfall to account for going into the 2017-19 budget. That figure is smaller than the $280 million that sits in the state's rainy day fund, and smaller than the deficit originally projected by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.