As the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) continued budget votes this week, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released updated revenue numbers projecting the state will collect $753 million more in general fund taxes than previously estimated. Overall, the new projections give the state $2.9 billion more to spend in the 2019-21 budget than in 2017-19.
According to LFB, April collections data show increased collections in individual income tax and corporate tax compared to January estimates. Collections for sales and use taxes, public utility taxes, and cigarette taxes were lower than January estimates, partially offsetting the growth.
Following the release of the LFB revenue projections, Gov. Tony Evers announced he will be paying off $56 million of state debt with the surplus. Evers is also requesting JFC use the additional funds to provide $15 million in worker training and $18 million for the Wisconsin Technical Colleges System. Evers said any funds remaining should go to the state’s rainy day fund. In a letter to Gov. Evers, Department of Revenue Secretary Peter Barca noted that a significant portion of the shifting revenue is due to one-time tax collections related to federal tax law changes.
JFC co-chair Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) said Wednesday that he’d like to see most of the surplus go to the rainy day fund.