(State Capitol, Madison) . . . Improved budget figures were released this week, indicating that the reforms passed last year to address the $3 billion budget deficit are continuing to improve our state’s finances. Updated tax numbers compiled by the Department of Revenue (DOR) show Wisconsin is anticipated to end the current two-year budget with a $154 million budget surplus due to growth in the economy.
“This is good news for Wisconsin taxpayers and another positive step in returning fiscal responsibility to state government,” said State Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls). “The tough decisions made last year have now resulted in over $1 billion in savings for taxpayers and a projected surplus going into the next budget.”
According to DOR, tax collections through April were higher than projected by a previous forecast. Additionally, the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis has revised its data to show an increase in personal income for Wisconsin residents. When the budget was passed last summer, a $74 million balance was anticipated at the end of the budget cycle in 2013.
“The recent news of budget reform savings and this week’s surplus announcement demonstrate the success of the efforts by the State Legislature and Governor to bring government in line with what taxpayers can afford,” Harsdorf continued. “Coupled with a reduction in borrowing and the payment of unpaid debts left by the prior administration, the state is well-positioned heading into the next two-year budget.”
As a result of the larger anticipated surplus in this fiscal year, up to $45 million would be deposited into the state’s “rainy day” fund. Under state law, 50% of general fund revenues collected in excess of estimated amounts are to be transferred to the budget stabilization fund. This will mark the first time in state history that money will be added to the budget stabilization fund in consecutive years, following the nearly $15 million that was deposited last year.
“While these new projections are a step in the right direction, it is important to recognize the need to continue our efforts to encourage job creation and economic growth to improve our state’s budget picture,” said Harsdorf.