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Stone Arch Bridge

The Minneapolis skyline is illuminated in the background of the historic Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi River.

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

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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. 

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.