Wisconsin Legislative Update
Estimate: Wisconsin Will Have $1.8B In New Revenue For Next Budget
Tax Revenue Projections Fall $282M From Walker Administration Estimate
By Laurel White
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the GOP-controlled state Legislature will have about $1.8 billion in new state tax revenue as they craft the next budget, according to a report released recently by the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.
But the new projections from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau are about $282 million short of numbers released in November by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker's administration.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released estimates of revenues and expenses for the state over the next three years.
In addition to new revenue projections, the numbers also show the state is projected to end the current budget on June 30 with nearly $700 million in the bank.
The estimates come as the Democratic governor and conservative majority at the State Capitol begin the early stages of budget negotiations. They have already clashed over Evers’ commitment to include a federal Medicaid expansion in his budget proposal, as well as a middle-class tax cut financed by limiting a manufacturing tax credit program.
Republican leaders, who have said that proposed tax credit change amounts to a tax increase, argue the new estimates mean there is no need for such action. They have proposed a similar tax cut, funded instead with existing state money.
"(Evers) has inherited one of the best budget scenarios in a generation," Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, tweeted after the report. Nygren is the co-chair of the state budget committee. "The state is in a strong fiscal condition and there is no need to raise taxes."
The governor’s office rejected Republicans' assessment.
"The people of Wisconsin deserve an honest conversation about the challenges facing our state," said Evers' spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff. "Gov. Evers has inherited a budget from Republicans defined by eight years of failing to fully fund our public schools, ignoring our criminal justice system crisis, tax policies that prioritize millionaires instead of working Wisconsin families, no long-term solution on transportation, and attempts to gut healthcare protections for millions of Wisconsinites."
Baldauff said the governor hopes Republicans will "put politics aside" to work alongside him to pass "the people's budget."
In addition to proposals to expand Medicaid and cut middle-class income taxes, Evers has said he will propose sizable spending increases for education in Wisconsin. Some GOP legislative leaders have questioned where the governor will find the money to finance those increases.