July 22, 2014

State projects larger than expected budget surplus

The current state budget could have a $274 million surplus by the end of next June. A report from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau says that higher-than-expected tax collections will create the surplus, but only if state spending is on track.

Revenue officials say the state took in $126.6 million more than it expected in general purpose revenues in the last fiscal year. Tax collections were up 4.7 percent from the previous year and jumped 0.9 percent above what the state projected in May of this year. Half of that increase will go to the state’s Rainy Day Fund to handle future emergencies.

It may not be known until mid-October though if state spending was held to budget limits for the fiscal year that runs through June 30th. The state Department of Administration is expected to release its annual fiscal report by October 15th.

Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch says the state government is clearly headed in the right direction after several years of record budget deficits.

Democrats were more cautious. They said state spending trends remain uncertain, and Wisconsin still has a large deficit for Medicaid health care programs.