State has $4.6 billion positive GAAP balance in general fund

For the third consecutive year, the state’s general fund recorded a positive balance at the end of the 2021–22 fiscal year using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). According to a news release from the governor’s office, the state’s Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) shows the state’s GAAP balance increased by nearly 300% from a positive balance of $1.2 billion at the end of the 2020–21 fiscal year to a new record high of $4.6 billion at the end of the 2021–22 fiscal year.

“When I took office our GAAP balance was in a deficit, but we’ve worked hard since to put our state in a stronger fiscal position moving forward, and for the past two years this report has demonstrated that we are doing just that,” said Gov. Tony Evers. “Wisconsin is in the best fiscal position we’ve ever seen, and this year’s remarkable increase is another positive indicator that we are headed in the right direction — toward a stronger, more secure economic future that ensures we can keep working to build a Wisconsin that works for everyone.”

Other highlights of this year’s ACFR include:

  • In addition to the state’s increasing general fund balance, the report also notes that the state’s transportation fund balance increased by $275 million, or more than 26%, to $1.3 billion at the end of the 2021–22 fiscal year.
  • Under GAAP, the state’s total long-term debt decreased by over $365 million, which indicates the state repaid existing debt in excess of new debt being issued in the 2021–22 fiscal year.

In response to the announcement from the governor’s office, state Sen. Howard Marklein made the following statement upon the release of the ACFR:

“The recent release of the state’s audited financial statements continues the trend of positive reports we have received for the past 12 years. When I was elected to the legislature, we had a $3.0 billion deficit. We have made remarkable, consistent progress since Republicans have had control of the state’s checkbook.”