State officials are now predicting Wisconsin will end the budget biennium with a massive surplus.
In February, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau projected Wisconsin would end the biennium in 2013 with a deficit of $143 million, largely because of declining revenue forecasts. The state Department of Administration is adjusting those numbers, saying improved revenue collections show Wisconsin now has a projected surplus of over $154.5 million when the biennium ends.
DOA credits the increase with growth in personal income, job creation, and increased employment. Secretary Mike Huebsch says lower than expected tax refunds and debt refinancing also helped the state save additional money.
Huebsch says the agency will continue to monitor state spending and revenue collections to make sure Wisconsin stays on sound financial footing.
UPDATE: The campaign of Governor Scott Walker’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming recall election, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, responded to the new numbers with some skepticism. Spokesman Phil Walzak says “these numbers are built on sand. Almost half of this amount comes from delaying payments that will ultimately cost taxpayers more in interest. And these figures ignore the significant shortfall in the state’s health programs. If there is any extra money, Walker needs to explain if he will return any of the $25 million he raided from victims of the home foreclosure crisis, or the $105 million he added to the cost of college through increased fees, or reverse the taxes he raised on seniors and low-income people.”