Wisconsin’s Budget Forecast Dips Slightly

Wisconsin’s budget forecast dipped slightly Monday, but the latest projection still calls for the state to collect about $6.9 billion more than anticipated by the end of June.

The projection from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that taxes collected over the next two years will be down about $755 million, or about 1% less than the previous forecast made four months ago. Taking into account other short-term cost savings, the surplus shrank from $7.1 billion to nearly $6.9 billion.

Republicans who control the Legislature have tried to temper excitement over the surplus. The Republican co-chairs of the Legislature’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee said the latest downward estimate confirms that the Legislature is on the right track in creating a “cautious budget.”

“The re-estimates reflect the current economic environment we are in and the reality we face over the next three years,” Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Mark Born said in a joint statement. “In response to this reality, we will continue to craft a responsible budget that is made for Wisconsin.”

The new projection comes as lawmakers, Gov. Tony Evers and others are trying to strike a deal on a new, multibillion-dollar aid plan for local governments ahead of a vote Wednesday in the state Assembly.

The new forecast also comes ahead of votes in coming weeks over tax cuts, funding for K-12 schools and the University of Wisconsin System and a host of other priorities and programs as lawmakers piece together the next two-year state budget.