Walker touts surplus, ignores deficit

The state of Wisconsin has a general fund deficit of $1.7 billion when generally accepted accounting principles are used. But Gov. Scott Walker, just like his predecessors, prefers using a rosier accounting method.

When the state released its 2016 comprehensive annual financial report on Thursday, Walker touted the $331 million budgetary surplus in a news release. He noted the state has ended with a surplus every year since he took office.

Unlike budgetary statements, the CAFR requires the state to apply typical accounting rules. By that measure, the deficit improved from $1.8 billion in 2015 to $1.7 billion 2016 but Walker’s proposed budget could grow it to $2 billion by 2019.

The CAFR’s release was delayed this year due to implementation of a new financial reporting system.