I was interested in seeing the Census Bureau's release on state tax collections, which indicated that revenues had increased by nearly $800 billion in states during Fiscal Year 2012. This is a rebound from the revenue losses that resulted from the Great Recession, which put major pressure on state budgets throughout the country, including Wisconsin.
I also wanted to see how Wisconsin fared compared to the rest of the nation, and those numbers in the Census Bureau report shocked me. Page 8 of that report shows Wisconsin was the only state in the nation that had drops in both sales and income tax revenues in Fiscal Year 2012 - the first year of Scott Walker's budget.
This is especially odd, because the Walker Administration claimed revenue INCREASES in both of these statistics for FY2012, both in September's Department of Revenue report, and in the state's CAFR that was released in October. These higher revenues are a basis for the Administration's alleged "surplus" that the upcoming budget builds many of its assumptions on, but the numbers from the Census Bureau are a whole lot different than what the Walker DOR is saying...and it wasn't nearly that different in 2011.
Census Bureau vs. Wisconsin DOR, revenue figures 2011-2012
2011 Income taxes- Census $6.43 billion, DOR- $6.70 billion ($270 mil difference)
2012 Income taxes- Census $6.26 billion, DOR- $7.04 billion ($780 mil difference)
2011 Sales taxes- Census $4.11 billion, DOR $4.11 billion (same)
2012 Sales taxes- Census $3.87 billion, DOR $4.29 billion ($420 mil difference)
Now I don't know if the Census Bureau or the DOR is wrong about the numbers, and it does seem that some revenues are categorized differently between the 2 agencies. But the gaps are extremely different in FY2012 vs. FY2011, and that is extremely odd.
There's definitely a story here, because those numbers should not be that different. Stay tuned for the next revenue numbers from the LFB, and with the Journal-Sentinel reporting the Census numbers today, there should be some follow-up on this.
P.S. Now it looks like the Walker Administration is saying that DOA didn't send over the right numbers to the Census Bureau. Could be true, but if so, someone in DOA doesn't have a clue on how to find data. But given who this administration hires, I can't be shocked by that. Maybe that'll be Cullen Werwie's new job.