SCENES FROM SCOTT WALKER’S WISCONSIN: Wisconsin’s budget picture gets $714 million brighter.
Fiscal bureau director Bob Lang reported tax revenues are expected to be $455 million higher than what the Department of Administration projected in November. Also, spending in the current fiscal year that ends June 30 is expected to be $226 million lower — largely due to lower-than-expected Medicaid enrollment — and other revenues are expected to be $33 million higher.
That turns what was thought to be a $693 million deficit for the upcoming budget into a $21 million surplus, including all departmental budget requests.
It also adds more cushion to the state’s bottom line as it closes out the 2015-2017 budget cycle. Previously the net balance was about $40 million. The latest estimate has the state closing out the year with a $362.2 million ending balance.
The additional revenue helps explain why Gov. Scott Walker has been able to promise several additional spending proposals in his upcoming 2017-2019 budget proposal, such as a “significant increase” for K-12 schools, a University of Wisconsin tuition cut back-filled with state taxpayer dollars and $100 million more for local roads and rural broadband.
Wisconsin Democrats, to borrow a phrase, should be thanking him.