MADISON – Tax collections in Wisconsin during the coronavirus pandemic have been less grim than many state officials feared, which likely means lawmakers can stave off passing a budget-repair bill.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Monday reported the state had collected $17.5 billion in taxes for the last fiscal year. That’s more than lawmakers had budgeted for the year but slightly less than what they expected to take in under an estimate generated in January, just before the pandemic hit.
That bright bit of fiscal news means Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republicans who control the Legislature probably won’t have to rewrite the budget that runs through June 2021. But the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic means they will likely have a difficult time writing the subsequent budget.
“Because we were careful with the money taxpayers provided, our state finances are down, but not out,” said a statement from Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills, the co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.
For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the state collected $212 million more than budgeted. Under state law, half that amount, or $106 million, must go into the state’s rainy-day fund.
Once the money is deposited, the rainy-day fund will have $762 million in it. That will help mitigate the challenges of the next state budget.
Contact Patrick Marley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @patrickdmarley.