An annual measure of the state's fiscal health improved to its best level since 2001, according to the state's Certified Annual Fiscal Report released Tuesday.
The state reported a $1.4 billion deficit in 2014 based on generally accepted accounting principles, also known as the GAAP deficit. That's different from the accounting method used to balance the state budget, which must be done every two years.
The GAAP deficit is a reflection of how the state's finances look when what some observers call "accounting gimmicks" are cleared away. Those include things like the state withholding too much money from worker paychecks, only to refund the money during tax season, something Gov. Scott Walker started addressing with projected surplus dollars in 2014.
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When Walker took office in 2011, the GAAP deficit hit a record just shy of $3 billion, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. In 2001 it was $1.2 billion.
"We have put more money into the pockets of our hardworking taxpayers and our GAAP deficit has continued to decline, strengthening Wisconsin’s financial position," Walker said in a statement. "The tough, but prudent, decisions we have made – and will continue to make – have improved our bond rating and helped us move Wisconsin forward."