Data Indicates State Fiscal Picture Improving

A number of recent reports show that Wisconsin is in better fiscal shape than it has been in the recent past. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s latest coincident economic index ranks Wisconsin among the best states in the nation for the second consecutive month and the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue announced that General Purpose Revenue (GPR) collections increased $71.5 million from a Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) estimate in May.

Coincident Economic Index

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released its July coincident economic indexes for states on August 23, and for the second month in a row Wisconsin has one of the top economic growth rates in the county.

The coincident indexes combine four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic. The four state-level variables in each coincident index are nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average). The trend for each state’s index is set to the trend of its gross domestic product (GDP), so long-term growth in the state’s index matches long-term growth in its GDP.

The most recent two rankings are stark turnarounds from April, when Wisconsin ranked 49th in the same forecast.

GPR Projections

The Department of Revenue’s (DOR) unaudited final report of General Purpose Revenue (GPR) collections for FY2013 shows Wisconsin took in $14.086 billion, an increase of 4.2% over FY12. This is $71,516,000 more than the state estimated it would collect when the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) last made that calculation in May.

The memo from DOR is an unaudited report and will be reviewed by the State Controller’s Office prior to publication of the Department of Administration’s Annual Fiscal Report on October 15, 2013. The final numbers will also be audited by the Legislative Audit Bureau.