It likely will not make a difference in the upcoming gubernatorial election, but the State of Wisconsin continues to operate in the black at a record setting pace.
The state Department of Administration (DOA) released its new Annual Fiscal Report on Monday which showed the state ended the most recent state fiscal year with a positive balance of $588.5 million and grew the state Budget Stabilization Fund to a record-high $320.1 million.
DOA Secretary Ellen Nowak said, “The tough, prudent financial decisions and common-sense reforms that have supported job creation and led to record-low unemployment in Wisconsin have also contributed to our state’s budget ending the most recent fiscal year in excellent shape. The balance is over $41 million higher than was recently estimated, and this is in part due to higher-than-expected state revenues, which is great news as we look ahead to the next budget cycle.”
Other highlights from the report include the following:
— The undesignated general fund balance at the close of fiscal 2018 (June 30, 2018) was slightly higher than the previous fiscal year’s balance of $579 million.
— The state deposited $33.1 million into the state Budget Stabilization Fund—sometimes referred to as the “rainy day fund.” The balance is now $320.1 million. This is the largest balance in state history and 190 times larger than the balance in fiscal year 2010.
— General fund tax collections were $18.4 million above estimates. The growth was $626 million or 4 percent over last year. Individual income taxes were $99.2 million higher than estimated.
— State expenditures were $174 million less than budgeted in 2018.
— Individual tax relief jumped 34.2 percent from the prior fiscal year in part because of the Child Sales Tax Rebate which totaled $93.6 million in fiscal year 2018. In other words, more tax revenue can be collected at the same time tax relief is provided when the economy is robust.
But, again, none of this will matter on Nov. 6 because people care less about performance and more about the party to which they belong.

—Mark Sherry