Itemizing the shortfall in the current budget.
The deficit for the state of Wisconsin is $136.7 million for the current biennial budget, according to new figures from the State Budget Office. River Hills Republican Senator Alberta Darling co-chairs the Legislature’s budget committee. “We are looking at a real challenge and the governor has been very clear … we are not going to raise taxes, so this leaves making some really tough decisions based on some really difficult priorities.”
Governor Scott Walker released a breakdown of the numbers, which includes $58.7 million that’s owed to Minnesota for the terminated tax reciprocity agreement, a $153.2 million deficit in Medical Assistance Programs, and $21.7 million deficit in the Department of Corrections.
Darling says it’s important to address the repair budget before attacking the next two-year budget, which is estimated to have a $3.6 billion shortfall, when figuring in agency requests and previously-approved tax cuts. Darling says we simply cannot afford all the government programs. “So you can’t ask the hard-working Wisconsin taxpayer who’s really scrimping … to bite the bullet so that others can have free handouts from the government.”
Darling stresses, it’s time to think outside the box, and that means retooling, refining, and reforming government spending. Another $200 million is owed to the Patient Compensation Fund. That’s not calculated into the tally, along with interest on that debt and $4,500 a day interest on the Tax Reciprocity debt to the Gopher State.
Governor Walker will give lawmakers a budget repair bill in the coming weeks.