State Finishes Fiscal Year 2017 With $579 Million Surplus

On Oct. 15, the Department of Administration (DOA) released the Annual Fiscal Report detailing the fiscal condition for fiscal year 2016-17 (FY 17), which ended June 30, 2017. The state ended the year with a general fund balance of $579 million. This is $112 million more than the projected closing balance estimated in the budget (2017 Wisconsin Act 59).

The positive fund balance is due to higher than projected tax revenues, which were up $420.1 million or 2.8 percent over fiscal year 2015-16 (FY 16). Individual income taxes and general sales and use tax were up – 3.9 percent and 3.1 percent, respectfully, while corporation franchise and income taxes decreased 4.4 percent.

On the expenditure side, overall expenditures were up by 3.4 percent over FY 16. However, compared to the enacted budget, expenditures were $41 million less.

The largest state expenditure continues to be school aids for K-12 education. GPR assistance for school aids increased 8.8 percent from FY 16 to FY 17. The second largest expenditure is the state’s Medicaid program – which increased 4.3 percent (all funds) from FY 2016. The third largest state expenditure for FY 17 was correctional services, which increased 1.3 percent over FY 16. This graph includes the list of the top ten GPR programs and the corresponding percent of the general fund FY 17 budget.

The healthy $579 million general fund balance does not include the $283 million in the state’s rainy-day fund. DOA states in the report that this is the largest rainy-day fund balance in the state’s history.