(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s budget-makers are expecting less money over the next year but say that shouldn’t stop the state from giving taxpayers some of their money back.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released an updated revenue forecast for the state budget that will end in June 2025.
“Based upon our analysis, we project the closing, net general fund balance at the end of this biennium (June 30, 2025) to be $3,152.0 million. This is $439.1 million below the net balance that was projected at the time of enactment of the 2023-25 biennial budget,” the report stated.
Most of that decrease, some $422 million, comes from an expected drop in tax collections.
Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, and Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, the head of the budget writing Joint Finance Committee said even with the lower estimate, a $3.1 billion surplus is plenty of money to pay for a tax cut for Wisconsinites.
“Earlier this week, Republicans introduced a plan to send over $2 billion to the people of Wisconsin through targeted relief to middle income earners, families, and retirees,” Marklein and Born said in a statement. “Our plan builds on the decade-long practice of returning money to hardworking taxpayers, which has resulted in over $22 billion of savings for Wisconsin individuals, families and businesses. Our budget funded our priorities and met our obligations. Now we must return the excess to taxpayers. These updated revenue estimates show we have the money to do it.”
That proposal would target the tax cut to families who make $150,000 or less.
Marklein and Born said Wisconsin can provide that kind of relief, because of years of Republican budgeting.
“These estimates are consistent with what we expected when we crafted our budget. We created a responsible budget that protects taxpayer resources, while making important investments in our state. A decade of sound fiscal policies have contributed to the continued growth of our state’s economy and state government’s bottom line,” the two added.
In addition to the $3.1 billion surplus, Wisconsin, Marklein and Born said the state has $1.8 billion in its rainy day fund.