Friday, July 10, 2015

Walker missed budget surplus boast by $1 billion

Walker has been boasting that Wisconsin was heading into the new budget cycle with a cushion of about a half-billion dollars.

Turns out that the budget he will soon sign begins with about a half-billion gap.

Jon Peacock, citing official state data, at the authoritative Wisconsin Budget Project Blog explains:
The state’s fiscal health isn’t nearly as strong as the Governor and a number of other lawmakers asserted in the spring.  While the Governor was courting GOP support in South Carolina for his upcoming presidential campaign, he said:  “At the end of the budget we’re debating right now for our next two years in my state, we will end with a structural surplus of $499 million.”   
Unfortunately, the latest figures from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) show that we need to change that plus sign to a minus sign, because the Governor’s optimistic assertion was off by about $1 billion.   
July 7th memo from the LFB projects that Wisconsin will start the 2017-19 biennium with a structural deficit of $490 million. In other words, the 2015-17 budget developed by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) puts the state in a position where lawmakers would need to use the first $490 million of revenue growth during the 2017-19 biennium simply to maintain the spending commitments assumed in the second year of the 2015-17 budget. 
And a closer review of the LFB memo reveals that the fiscal pain that will be felt in 2017-19 is likely to be far greater than the structural deficit calculation indicates – thanks to unrealistic assumptions about the amount of funding agencies will lapse to the state treasury over the next four years. 
Any reporter trying to get a straight answer from Walker about the disparity will get either game-playing spin, his 709th finger-pointed at Jim Doyle, or another stonewall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

James ....his budget is a blatant falsehood. He's balancing it by claiming that state agencies will "LAPSE" OR RETRUN MONEY UNSPENT TO THE GENERAL FUND IN THE AMOUNT OF $2.15 BILLION OVER 3 YEARS. In the best of years in past budgets the most ever lapsed back was in the range of $250-$300 million. How the heck will agencies turn back money in those amounts unless Walker is planning to drastically cut services and programs that he's not telling us about. This is scandalous like everything else he touches but he and his legislators just go on about their business knowing they have all the power and who's going to stop them. We will.... but the next election is too far away. Now they want to dismantle the GAB and unless we take over the Capitol and protest they'll probably get away with it!