State Projects $1.7 Billion Surplus at End of Current Budget Cycle

Wisconsin’s current budget cycle is projected to end in two years with about $1.7 billion left over, one of the largest surpluses in recent memory.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Monday estimated the current two-year budget — which Republican lawmakers passed in June and Gov. Tony Evers signed into law — will produce a roughly $1.7 billion surplus in June of 2023, when the budget expires.

Fiscal Bureau director Bob Lang said the figure is one of the highest in recent memory. Having money left over at the end of the budget cycle provides lawmakers with more spending or tax-cutting opportunities in future budget cycles.

Before the latest state budget was signed into law, the Fiscal Bureau estimated Wisconsin would have a general fund balance of more than $5.8 billion as a result of “unprecedented” tax collections, a figure more than $4 billion larger than previous estimates.

The unprecedented surplus left lawmakers with a range of options for the 2021-23 state budget, including a $2 billion income tax cut adopted by the Republican-led Legislature.