When lawmakers come back to tackle the budget in 2009, they could be dealing with another huge deficit.
An analysis by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance shows the recently passed budget repair bill only reduced state spending by about 1.1-percent, which simply pushes off most of the state's deficit to next year. As a result, WISTAX President Todd Berry says the state's structural deficit could grow to over $800 million in 2009. He says that could delay any new spending initiatives when lawmakers craft the next state budget.
Berry says the problem is with the constant borrowing and fund transfer tricks that are used to balance the state budget whenever there's a shortfall. He says that method only results in the Legislature and Governor having to plug new holes when it comes time to write the next state budget. It's a process that's been going on for several years, with lawmakers pushing forward hundreds of millions of dollars in debt each time.
Berry says the state should end the cycle, by permanently trimming spending or finding ways to increase revenues.