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State Could Have $1.8 Billion Shortfall in Next Biennial Budget

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The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released new figures Monday, regarding a projected deficit in Wisconsin’s structural budget.

According to the agency, the two-year state budget, which will begin in July 2015, will have a hole of nearly $1.8 billion.

The state already has a deficit of nearly $116 million, for the period that ends in the middle of next year.

The new estimate is about three times what the Fiscal Bureau predicted in May. The numbers are subject to revision, pending tax collections and state spending.

State Sen. Jennifer Schilling, a Democrat from La Crosse, released a statement after the numbers came out. In part, it said:

“Three years ago, Gov. Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature made massive funding cuts to K-12 schools, state technical colleges, UW campuses and local services. Wisconsin residents were told that these cuts were necessary to 'fix' the state budget. In light of the recent budget news, Sen. Shilling has joined other leaders in requesting additional information on how the Walker administration plans to address this fiscal crisis including a list of proposed cuts."

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican from Rochester, also put out a statement, reacting to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau report – and to the Democrats who were upset by it. Vos said, in part:

“Once again Democrats are looking for dark clouds on a sunny day. No one can ignore the fact the state is headed in the right direction. Unemployment is down, more jobs are being created and new businesses are opening their doors. The state economy continues to grow stronger under Republican leadership. Republicans have been fiscally responsible by balancing the state budget and creating the largest rainy day fund (budget stabilization fund) in Wisconsin history amounting to $280 million.”

Ann-Elise Henzl became News Director in September 2017.
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