Around the same time, Gov. Evers also announced that 1.5 million Wisconsin homeowners will see a 38 percent increase in the state’s Lottery and Gaming Credit on their property tax bills. The state will distribute a record-high $343.6 million in proceeds from the Wisconsin Lottery in the form of credits for property taxes levied in 2021. Since 1988, the Wisconsin Lottery has provided more than $4.8 billion in property tax relief. The credit for homeowners is based on their local school district tax rate.
According to a January 25, 2022 memo to legislators from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state is expected to end the fiscal biennium on June 30, 2023 with a $3.8 billion surplus, nearly $2.9 billion more than the most recent projection. LFB attributes most of the increase to a $2.5 billion increase in expected sales, income, and corporate tax collections and a nearly $340 million drop in appropriations. Because the state’s budget stabilization or “rainy day” fund has a balance over $1.7 billion, none of the surplus funds will be automatically transferred to that account.
A month earlier, Gov. Evers noted in a press release that Wisconsin’s General Fund recorded its largest positive balance ever, as calculated under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), at the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year. The state ended the most recent fiscal year with a balance of $1.18 billion. The 2019-20 and 2020-21 fiscal years mark the first time that the state has run a GAAP positive balance since the state began publishing its Annual Comprehensive Financial Report in 1990.