Wisconsin’s next governor will have to continue keeping state government afloat – with a lot less money. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports state government will be $2.5 billion dollars short of what it needs to meet current spending commitments in the next state budget, which begins next July. A year ago, the next deficit was projected to be around $2 billions, meaning it has grown by $462 million. That’s because revenue from new taxes-and-fees in the current budget won’t grow as quickly as first expected, and because state lawmakers approved additional spending just before they ended their legislative session in March.
To cut the deficit, the next governor and Legislature would have to make deep spending cuts – raise taxes-and-fees – or do both, as Governor Jim Doyle and his Democratic majority did last year. All three candidates for governor have promised to make state government leaner if they’re elected.