Wisconsin collected $126.6 million more than previously expected this year, which may lead to the largest amount of money transferred to the state’s rainy day fund, according to a press release by the Department of Revenue.
The department released the amount of general purpose revenue collections for the 2012 fiscal year Wednesday, showing that they collected 4.7 percent more in the 2012 fiscal year than it did in the 2011 fiscal year.
The report said the final figures will be released in the Department of Administration’s Annual Fiscal Report Oct. 15. It also emphasized the collections “do not offer guidance” on 2012’s budget balance, as other revenues and expenditures still have to be taken into account.
DOR spokesperson Laurel Patrick emphasized despite the numbers being good news, this is only “one part of the equation” that will make up the budget.
Patrick said the reasons why the actual collections were larger than what the department had originally projected in May 2012 were wage growth and business profits being stronger than anticipated.
DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch was pleased with the revenue release and said state agencies must continue to find ways to save money by being more efficient.
“After years of record budget deficits, we are clearly headed in the right direction. However, fiscal stewardship does not take a break. As state agencies prepare their biennial budget requests, we will ensure that agencies continue to be fiscally responsible, while providing the best possible services to our citizens,” Huebsch said.
Huebsch projected the department expects a record amount of money to be transferred to the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the “rainy day fund.”
According to a 2009 Legislative Fiscal Bureau publication, the rainy day fund was created in 1985 after the early 1980s recession. Its purpose is for the state to have money set aside for future times of low economic growth and tax collections.
Democrats did not put out any statements, and a number of them were not available for comment.
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said in a statement the positive numbers can be attributed to the “reforms” under Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature.
“We made the tough decisions required to balance our budget with the next generation in mind but it’s heartening to see our actions having an immediate positive impact on Wisconsin’s economy,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald also mentioned Wisconsin is “buck[ing] the national trend” by increasing revenues as well as having more people on payrolls.
In an interview with The Badger Herald, Rep. Mark Honadel, R-South Milwaukee, said he was happy the state’s economy is turning around. He described Walker’s reforms and future plans in a metaphor.
“We are starting to see a little black instead of some red all the time,” Honadel said. “Last session, we put a brand new engine in the car, and this session, we are going to fine-tune it. The reforms are going to work and are going to continue to work as years go on.”