Voters in Wisconsin made their wishes known about priorities for the state in the coming years. They elected a new governor in Democrat Tony Evers, while the legislature remains in the hands of the Republican Party. But actually accomplishing the will of the electorate may be challenging when it comes to supporting publicly funded programs.
According to a recent report, the state would require an additional $2 billion in revenue to cover spending on schools and existing programs in the coming biennial budget. The report, which comes from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum, looks at a myriad of things that have contributed to the state's financial predicament.
The Forum's Madison-based research director, Jason Stein, says that while the price tag might sound shocking, Wisconsin's financial outlook is relatively good compared to other years.
"This is certainly, by no means the toughest budget the state has had. I mean, the budget that the Democrats faced in 2009 when they controlled state government and the budget — that Governor Walker and the Republicans faced in 2011, when they controlled state government — both those were much more difficult budgets than this one," he says.