Daily Bread for 11.22.22: Wisconsin’s $6,600,000,000 (and Counting) Opportunity

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 45. Sunrise is 6:56 AM and sunset 4:25 PM for 9h 29m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 2.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 4:30 PM

On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy is assassinated and Texas Governor John Connally is seriously wounded by Lee Harvey Oswald, who also kills Dallas Police officer J. D. Tippit after fleeing the scene. U.S Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the 36th President of the United States afterwards.

Corrinne Hess reports Wisconsin now projects the state’s record-high budget surplus to hit $6.6 billion:

MADISON – Wisconsin has a record-high budget surplus projected to hit $6.6 billion for 2022-23, according to a report released Monday by the state Department of Administration.

Over the next several months, Governor Tony Evers and the Republican-run state legislature will have to figure out how to spend the money.


The $6.6 billion surplus does not include the roughly $1.734 billion currently in the state’s budget stabilization, or “rainy day,” fund. State general fund balances for 2023-24 are estimated to be $8.4 billion and growing to $9.7 billion at the end of the 2024-25 fiscal year.


While politicians weigh how to spend the money, outside interest groups also have ideas. The Wisconsin Association of School Boards said, “There should be plenty of money available in state coffers to both increase public school funding and cut state taxes, which could satisfy both Governor Evers’ goals and the goals of some legislative leaders, particularly leaders in the state Senate.”

The Institute for Reforming Government, which introduced a plan to eliminate Wisconsin’s personal income tax last year, is again calling for a similar measure.

Two obvious questions: how will officials allocate the surplus (not including the rainy day fund), and will those allocations lead to structural (rather than one-time) budgetary changes? Rather than simply allocate some of all of this money for a single biennium, Wisconsin can us this opportunity (where there there is more to meet needs) to make lasting changes to how taxes are imposed or schools are funded. Multiple changes may not be possible, but a single structural change would be within reach. 

Merely allocating the money is only half the work.

NASA’s Artemis 1 spacecraft sees Earth from 229,000 miles away:

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