Lower Tax Collections Create $281 million Shortfall in State Budget

Aug 28, 2014

The State Department of Revenue has released tax collection totals for Fiscal Year 2014.

The numbers show general purpose revenue (GPR) collections fell about $281,171,000 short of projections.

It appears lawmakers will have to find a way to close an unexpected hole in the budget
Credit Flickr/Althouse

The GPR collections include revenue from a number of categories, including individual income taxes, general sales and use taxes, corporate income/franchise taxes, and taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.

The Department of Revenue says the figures are unaudited, and subject to final review.

Gov. Scott Walker had no immediate comment on the apparent shortfall. But fellow Republicans were quick to weigh in. A number of lawmakers released statements Thursday, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). He pointed to an increase in sales tax revenue, which he says “illustrates the confidence that our citizens have in the state’s economic recovery.” The co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) said the sales tax numbers show “citizens believe in the direction our state is heading and are confident in our comeback.”

Democrats were quick to use the numbers to criticize Gov. Walker and Republican legislators. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) put out a statement, saying the shortfall “is further evidence that the policies of Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature are not working for Wisconsin.” Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) called the numbers “the worst possible news,” and said “Republicans have driven our state finances into the ground” while other Midwestern states “pass us by."