Wisconsin’s Short-Term Fiscal Health Reached Peak in 2017

Weekly Fiscal Facts are provided by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state’s leading resource for nonpartisan state and local government research and civic education. The Wisconsin Public Policy Forum logo can be downloaded here.


Wisconsin’s Short-Term Fiscal Health Reached Peak in 2017

In 2017, three measures of Wisconsin’s short-term fiscal health were at their highest levels since at least 2002. Progress since 2009 was largely linked to increases at the U.W. System and in the state unemployment insurance fund.

About 29% ($1.33 billion) of the 2009-17 increase was due to a return to a solvent unemployment reserve fund. In 2008, the state gradually increased the amount of wages subject to the unemployment tax, from $10,500 in 2008 to $14,000 in 2013 and thereafter. That action, along with benefit changes and declining unemployment, helped reverse annual deficits in the fund. As of 2017, the fund had assets totaling more than $1.5 billion.

Another 29% ($1.34 billion) of the gain was from rising balances in the U.W. System; 17% ($798 million) was the result of higher ending balances in the state general and “rainy-day” funds.

This information is a service of the Wisconsin Policy Forum, the state’s leading resource for nonpartisan state and local government research and civic education.