State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) released updated revenue projections for the state’s general fund, and the news is good.
DOR reports collections for the 2011-12 fiscal year are $126.6 million above previous estimates. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, that is nearly one percent above projections and a 4.7 percent increase in revenue from the previous year.
The additional money comes from better-than-expected corporate, utility, insurance, and excise taxes. Overall, the largest increase is from individual income tax revenues that are nearly $77 million stronger than projected. All of this adds up to overcome sluggish sales tax revenue that is $10 million under estimates.
All of the taxes combined make up general purpose revenue (GPR). GPR pays for a multitude of government expenses, most notably school aid, corrections, and medical assistance programs including BadgerCare.
Half of the additional revenue will be put in the state’s budget stabilization fund, commonly called the rainy day fund. The other half will go toward a projected surplus.
Importantly, the new revenue numbers only tell part of the story. In mid-October the Department of Administration (DOA) will release departmental expenditures for the 2011-12 fiscal year. Only then will we have a complete picture.
For now the news is encouraging. If current figures hold, officials estimate we will finish the current budget cycle with a $274 million surplus and $125 million in the stabilization fund. DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch stated he “fully expect[s] to report the largest transfer to the Budget Stabilization Fund in the State’s history.”
Wisconsin is on a path of fiscal responsibility and honest budgeting. While other states are facing significant budget troubles, Wisconsin taxpayers can rest assured their Governor and legislators continue to fight wasteful spending and keep Wisconsin’s fiscal house in order.