Projections released Monday by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau are showing that the shortfall for the next two-year state budget now stands at almost $1.8 billion. That’s still about half of what it was when Governor Scott Walker took office in 2011, but it’s also nearly three times what was forecast earlier this year.
Democrats in the Legislature were quick to react to the projections. State Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), who serves on the Joint Finance Committee, said the structural deficit is yet another reminder that Wisconsin is heading in the wrong direction
“This budget crisis was completely avoidable and will only get worse if we don’t act now to balance our budget and grow our economy from the bottom up,” Shilling said.
“This staggering structural deficit confirms that Republicans and Walker are not only failing to create jobs, but are also completely reckless with our state finances – taking a budget surplus and careening it into a massive deficit,” said state Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha), the minority leader in the Assembly.
“Once again Democrats are looking for dark clouds on a sunny day. No one can ignore the fact the state is headed in the right direction. Unemployment is down, more jobs are being created and new businesses are opening their doors,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).
“Republicans have been fiscally responsible by balancing the state budget and creating the largest rainy day fund (budget stabilization fund) in Wisconsin history amounting to $280 million. It’s important to note that the estimates from the budget exercise assume no growth in revenue and no change in expenditures.”