Wisconsin Tax Revenue Up 12% Last Year Despite COVID-19; Finishes With A Surplus
Pandemic be damned. Despite concerns and worries that the COVID-19 pandemic might create a softer budget fiscal year for the State of Wisconsin, the state ended up having one of it's better years revenue wise. In fact, the intake "shattered expectations". Some are even calling the increases "unprecedented".
According to details released by the Wisconsin Examiner, the "State Department of Revenue reported...it...expects total tax collections for Fiscal Year 2021 - which ended June 30 - to clock in at $19.57 billion". That represents an overage of 12% more than the last fiscal year.
And, while that number is staggering, it gets even better when viewed through the perspective of time. That $19.57 billion in tax revenue clocked in "$1.9 billion more than the estimate that was included with the previous state budget".
All told, the revenue situation leave the State of Wisconsin "in the strongest fiscal shape it has been in during any budget cycle in recent memory."
The condition will also translate in future fiscal health for the state, too. By state law, "half of that additional money - $967.4 million - will go to the state's budget stabilization fund, nicknamed the "rainy day fund". The law reads that when tax collections exceed the budgeted forecast, half of the surplus must go towards that "rainy day fund".
Perhaps the biggest surprise for many was the way that the budget not only hit it's targeted numbers, but exceeded them - all while in the midst of a global pandemic. Initial forecasts had predicted "declining collections and a dire budget picture". Neither of those forecasts followed through.
As expected, the budget surplus has both sides of the aisle claiming ownership and also casting criticism. While the tax revenue situation occurred during a GOP-backed state budget, Democratic leaders suggest that it was the work of Governor Tony Evers and his administration that provided the atmosphere for the good news. Meanwhile, Evers has been critical of the budget surplus - even though he signed it into law; the governor is suggesting that "the state's strong financial position meant it should have invested more in things like education and health care".