Press Release: Gov. Evers Announces State's General Fund has a Positive GAAP Balance for the First Time Since 1990

Office of Governor Tony Evers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 22, 2020
Gov. Evers Announces State's General Fund has a Positive GAAP Balance for the First Time Since 1990
 Report shows state's former generally accepted accounting principles deficit eliminated at the end of fiscal year 2019-20 for the first time since Thompson Administration

MADISON —​ Gov. Tony Evers today announced that since the state began publishing its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) in 1990 the State’s General Fund is no longer running a deficit for the first time since the Thompson Administration. In Gov. Evers’ first two years in office, the state’s former Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) deficit has declined by over $1.253 billion and assumed a positive balance of $1.5 million for the first time at the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year. 

“Our diligence of investing in the issues Wisconsinites care about without running up the state’s credit card has paid off and helps us ensure Wisconsin’s future economic stability, which is as important as ever,” said Gov. Evers. “This is great news for our state and will put us in a stronger position to move our state forward and focus on the priorities of the people.”

Additionally, for the second consecutive year, the state deposited additional funding into its Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the “rainy-day” fund. This past year’s deposit of $105.8 million increased the Budget Stabilization Fund to $761.8 million. This is the largest balance in Wisconsin’s history and nearly 140 percent larger than the balance at the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The elimination of the negative GAAP general fund balance reflects the current improved financial position of the state due to a combination of expanded reserves, increasing ending fund balances, and excellent liquidity. It is anticipated that news on the positive GAAP general fund balance will be well received by investors, which will result in lower costs of borrowing for the state.

The state’s CAFR for the 2019-20 fiscal year can be found here.

The Department of Administration has published the state’s CAFR since 1990. The report is prepared on a GAAP basis. The adoption of GAAP by the state of Wisconsin for financial reporting purposes serves to present the state’s financial position in a business-like manner. GAAP reporting accurately measures financial operations, fully discloses financial positions, provides an externally accepted presentation, and provides information for financial managers.

The state of Wisconsin CAFR has received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) each year since 1996.