State Projects More Than $6.5 Billion Budget Surplus

Wisconsin’s financial outlook appears even rosier than previously projected, with the state Department of Administration on Monday estimating the state’s general fund balance could surpass $6.5 billion by summer.

Updated projections released by the DOA underscore how increased state revenue over the course of the next two-year state budget is expected to result in a record-high general fund balance of more than $6.57 billion by the end of the current fiscal year on June 30. That balance does not include the state’s more than $1.7 billion budget stabilization fund, a rainy day fund to be used in times of emergency.

“Wisconsin is currently in the strongest financial position we’ve ever been with unemployment at historic lows and a strong pandemic recovery that has helped new businesses open on Main Streets in every county,” Evers said. Evers added the latest projection and “unprecedented surplus presents an unprecedented opportunity to make critical investments in Wisconsinites and the future of our state.”

But the chairs of the Legislature’s budget committee — Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green — said Monday that “we must be mindful that the surplus is due, in part, to a massive increase in tax collections.”

“This is not good news for taxpayers,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “The projected balance does not give the governor a blank check as he puts together his budget proposal. Instead, it gives us flexibility to fund the programs and agencies that are necessary for prosperity in Wisconsin while cutting taxes to benefit all Wisconsin taxpayers.”