GOP state Rep. Terry Katsma said the state should return a budget surplus to taxpayers, while Dem Rep. Daniel Riemer said a tax cut should be paid for by partially rolling back a tax credit for manufacturers.

The two lawmakers debated the merits of different approaches to a middle-class tax cut Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with

“We have this budget surplus that was done under good budgeting under the Walker administration. And we think that money should be returned back to the taxpayers,” said Katsma, R-Oostburg.

Riemer said the manufacturing tax credit has benefited some of the wealthiest people in Wisconsin. He also said Democrats want to do the middle-class tax cut as part of the budget process.

“As the stewards of public funds, we have to look carefully at how we appropriately do tax cuts, invest in education, health care, roads — the things we do through the budget process,” said Riemer, D-Milwaukee.

“Part of the Democrats’ argument is let’s do it through the budget process so we have a sense of the whole picture,” Riemer said.

“The Democratic plan is really a tax shift. We want to lower the taxes to the middle class without raising taxes on somebody else,” Katsma said.

Riemer said he thinks there is a compromise to be had on the middle-class tax cut.

“We hope we can work it out,” Katsma said.

Also on the program, Kerry Schumann, executive director of Wisconsin Conservation Voters, said Gov. Tony Evers’ decision to join the U.S. Climate Alliance is more than symbolism.

“Regular people are feeling the effects of climate change,” she said.

But she said there is a “lot more (Evers) has to do.”

She also said many elected leaders are lagging the public on the issue of climate change.

“People are ahead of our politicians, the market is ahead, our utilities are ahead. Our utilities are moving forward on clean energy faster than some of our lawmakers in Madison,” Schumann said.

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