MacIver News Service | January 17, 2018
By Bill Osmulski
MADISON, Wis. – The Legislative Fiscal Bureau had good news for the State of Wisconsin on Wednesday morning when it announced the state is on track to end the biennium with $137.5 million more in the general fund than originally estimated just four months ago.
In September, when the 2017-19 budget was passed, LFB estimated the state would end the 2019 fiscal year with $247.7 million. Now LFB predicts it will be $385.2 million.
The increase is expected to come from $76.3 million more in tax collections, $1.7 million more in departmental revenues, $97.7 million in lower spending, and a $38.2 million transfer to the budget stabilization fund.
The lower spending mostly comes from debt service adjustments. The state did some refinancing and is not issuing as many new bonds as expected.
“The estimates released by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau confirms what we already know: common sense reforms and prudent fiscal budgeting have put us on great fiscal standing,” Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygern (R-Marinette), Joint Committee on Finance Co-Chairs, said in a joint statement Wednesday. “It’s clear that our reforms and careful budgeting are working.”
Those reforms started when Republicans took control of the state government in 2011 and passed collective bargaining reform, also called Act 10. Within five years, that alone saved the state $5.24 billion. The governor’s office estimates that tax reductions over the past 7 years have resulted in a cumulative $8 billion in savings to taxpayers.
“This is more great news, and it’s further proof that we are achieving positive results for Wisconsin families. Today’s report shows our economy is strong, and it shows our expenses are down because we are committed to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. We are working and winning for Wisconsin,” Walker said in a press release Wednesday.