- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on Wisconsin state budget (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

The Republican co-chairs of the Legislature’s budget committee say a new tax revenue forecast shows “Wisconsin is on solid ground.”

Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. John Nygren released a joint statement Wednesday in reaction to the report from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The report shows the state will collect nearly $455 million more than projected in November.

Nygren and Darling say the new numbers are encouraging.

And Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jen Shilling says budget priorities are out of whack. She says “rather than handing out taxpayer subsidies to companies that outsource jobs, we need to focus on expanding economic opportunities and growing our middle class.”

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4:55 p.m.

Gov. Scott Walker says new positive state budget projections show Wisconsin’s economy is in its best shape in 15 years.

He said Wednesday that “These growing revenue numbers are a sign that what we’re doing in Wisconsin is working.”

He says his budget priorities to increase funding for public education at all levels and cut taxes remain the same.

New estimates from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau show Wisconsin’s budget will end the current year with $322 million more in the bank than earlier projected. The report says the state will collected nearly half a billion dollars more in taxes than projected back in November.

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4:30 p.m.

Wisconsin’s state budget outlook is improving.

New revenue estimates from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released Wednesday show tax revenues will be nearly half a billion dollars higher than a November projection. The report says the current budget year will end with a net balance of $362 million.

The highly anticipated release will form the foundation of the state budget Gov. Scott Walker releases next month.

The more positive outlook will make it easier for Walker to deliver on his promises of significantly increasing funding for K-12 schools, cutting tuition for University of Wisconsin undergraduates and spending more money for worker training. He’s promised to do all that, and plug a nearly $1 billion transportation budget shortfall, without raising taxes.

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3:50 p.m.

The Republican co-chair of the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget-writing committee says highly anticipated new revenue estimates will bring good news for the state.

State Rep. John Nygren tells The Associated Press that the highly anticipated estimates from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau would be released Wednesday. Nygren was being briefed on the numbers and tells AP in a text message that they are “positive.”

The numbers will form the foundation of Gov. Scott Walker’s two-year spending proposal that is to be released next month.

A more positive tax collection outlook for the next two years will give Walker and lawmakers more room to spend on their stated priorities, including K-12 schools, the University of Wisconsin and possibly tax cuts.

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9:42 a.m.

A broad array of liberal advocacy groups are calling for repeal of a manufacturing tax credit and increases in taxes on capital gains to free up $900 million in the Wisconsin state budget.

The groups on Wednesday argued that the money could be diverted to invest in public schools, health care and worker training programs.

The coalition called A Wisconsin Budget for All released its proposal at a Capitol news conference weeks before Gov. Scott Walker was to propose his two-year state budget. The coalition includes groups representing teachers, the elderly, social workers, nurses and others.

Republicans who control the Legislature have championed the tax changes the groups are pushing to undo, making it unlikely their proposals will find much traction.

Walker is expected to release his budget next month.

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