Governor says state has budget surplus

Workforce secretary says recall had no effect on data release

Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s administration said new revenue projections show the state will finish the 2011-2013 biennium with a $154.5 million surplus.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimated in February the state would finish the two-year period with a $143 million deficit.

But Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch wrote in a letter to Walker on Thursday that personal income growth has been stronger than anticipated and the state now expects to collect $265 million more in taxes than the Legislative Fiscal Bureau expected.

The developments are good news for Walker, who faces Democrat Tom Barrett in a June 5 recall election.

Barrett’s campaign issued a statement Thursday on the Walker administration’s budget announcement.

“While Walker and his right-wing allies give themselves high-fives, the people of Wisconsin should know these numbers are built on sand. Almost half of this amount comes from delaying payments that will ultimately cost taxpayers more in interest. And these figures ignore the significant shortfall in the state’s health programs. If there is any extra money, Walker needs to explain if he will return any of the $25 million he raided from victims of the home foreclosure crisis, or the $105 million he added to the cost of college through increased fees, or reverse the taxes he raised on seniors and low-income people,” said Phil Walzak, communications director for Barrett for Wisconsin, in a statement.