(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s latest fiscal report shows another month of multiple millions of dollars in taxes lost. But May’s numbers are not nearly as bad as they could have been. 

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau on Wednesday released its latest General Fund tax collection report. 

The numbers show Wisconsin was off by $66 million last month, which is much better than the $870 million from April. 

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on employment and the economy, the May report indicates a continued reduction in collections,” the LFB report states. “May 2020, preliminary tax collections were $1.2 billion, which is $66 million below collections of May 2019.”

That $66 million comes from personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, and sales or use taxes. 

The total hit to personal and corporate income taxes won’t be known for a while. Both the state of Wisconsin and the federal government have given taxpayers until July to file their 2019 income taxes. 

LFB said the latest tax report, however, does show the impact of Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home Order on spending. 

“Tax collections in May generally reflect taxes paid for retail sales occurring in April. The coronavirus pandemic resulted in the Safer at Home order, which took effect on March 26, 2020, and remained in effect until May 13, 2020,” the report notes. “Sales tax collections for May, 2020, reflected a full month of reduced economic activity during the Safer At Home order. Such collections were lower than May collections in the previous year by 10.1%, or $46 million.”

The numbers for May are the latest warning for Wisconsin lawmakers who want to avoid budget cuts or a budget deficit. 

LFB added to that warning, saying the state’s general fund balance is likely to dip below its current $1.09 billion. LFB stated in the new report that it won’t know the full extent of of the fiscal impact of the coronavirus until after income taxes are filed in July. 

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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