State Finishes Fiscal Year With Better Than Expected Ending Balance

Fears that the state might not be able to comfortably afford the sizable increase in state school aids approved in the 2017-19 state budget may be eased by news that Wisconsin closed its fiscal year on June 30 with a larger than expected ending balance.

The state ended Fiscal Year 2017 with a $579 million surplus in its main account, the second largest closing balance since 2000.  That figure was up $112 million from the previous projection of $467 million as revenues were up and spending was down from earlier forecasts.

The state’s undesignated balance was $126 million more than the 2017-2019 Executive Budget Fiscal Year 2017 estimate closing balance and $111.9 million more than the Fiscal Year 2017 closing balance estimated in 2017 Wisconsin Act 59, the 2017-19 state budget act.

According to the state’s Annual Fiscal Report, “General-purpose revenue taxes (principally income and sales taxes) were $15.518 billion compared to $15.098 billion in the prior year, an increase of $420 million or 2.8 percent. General-purpose revenue expenditures, excluding fund transfers, were $15.858 billion. This is $41 million less than the budgeted expenditure allocation of $15.899 billion.”

Note:  The state’s Annual Fiscal Report (AFR) is a report of actual financial data for the fiscal year against the budget as reflected in Chapter 20 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The report is not intended to display accounting information in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The State’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), which is prepared in accordance with GAAP is issued under a separate cover.

The 2017-19 budget signed into law last month increased state aid to schools by $636 million over the amount provided in the 2015-17 state budget.

Read more: Governor Walker’s press statement, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel coverage, Wisconsin State Journal coverage, and WisPolitics.com coverage.