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Legislative Update


State’s potential budget surplus projected to be nearly $6.6 billion

by | Nov 21, 2022 | Legislative Update Blog, State Budget, State Issue | 0 comments

In a statutorily required report, the state Department of Administration (DOA) today said the state’s fiscal condition is in the best position it has ever been, and it expects a nearly $6.6 billion budget surplus to end the current fiscal year on June 30, 2023.  That figure is well above previous expectations that the surplus would total roughly $5 billion. 

In addition, the DOA report issued today anticipates growth in state revenues will add another $1.5 billion to the state’s coffers over the two-year period beginning on July 1, 2023.

The report provides the first look at how the 2023-25 (biennial or two-year) state budget shapes up and the outlook is encouraging. The report finds state agencies have requested a total combined spending increase of $3.6 billion in new general purpose revenue (GPR) over the 2023-25 biennium. (General purpose revenue (GPR) is used to fund state aid to schools, among other things, and is derived mainly from state income and sales taxes.)  

Comparing the projected GPR surplus in the current biennium and the expected GPR revenue growth in the next biennium with state agencies’ budget requests, the report indicates the state could fund every single agency request and still have $4.4 billion left over in the general fund.  (Typically, the Governor’s recommended budget will contain modifications or additions to state agencies’ budget requests, even when the fiscal news is not as positive as it is this year.) 

The report also reiterates that the balance in the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund (a/k/a “Rainy Day Fund”) is slightly more than $1.73 billion.

The takeaway is that there should be plenty of money available in state coffers to both increase public school funding and cut state taxes, which could satisfy both Governor Evers’ goals and the goals of some legislative leaders, particularly leaders in the state Senate.

View the DOA report.

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Editor’s Note: By November 20 of each even-numbered year the Secretary of the state DOA is required, by statute, to provide to the Governor or
Governor-Elect and to each member of the next Legislature, a compilation of the total amount of each state agency’s biennial budget request. In
addition, the statutes require that the report include information on the actual and estimated revenues for the current and forthcoming biennium.

These revenue estimates are prepared by the state Department of Revenue and are used by the Governor as the basis on which total general fund biennial budget spending levels are recommended.  Subsequent to the release of the November 20 report, the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) publishes a summary of the major items included in state agencies’ budget requests and distributes this document to each member of the Legislature. This summary is distributed in December of each even-numbered year.

The LFB also prepares an independent estimate of general fund revenues that is provided annually, in January, to the Legislature. Typically, this report is released during the week the State Education Convention takes place in Milwaukee.

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