Legislative Fiscal Bureau Projects Budget Shortfall

The latest general fund condition statement generated by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau projects Wisconsin will be $143.2 million in the hole at the end of the current budget biennium. This is $215.9 million below the LFB’s October 2011 projection.

According to the LFB, the $215.9 million change is the net result of: (1) a revenue decrease of $4.5 million due to enactment of 2011 Act 49; (2) a $272.8 million decrease in estimated tax collections; (3) a $6.3 million decrease in departmental revenues; (4) a $44.5 million decrease in sum sufficient appropriation expenditures; (5) a reduction of $20.0 million in compensation reserves; (6) a reduction of $1.3 million in the transfer to the injured patients and families compensation fund; and (7) a $1.9 million increase in estimated lapses to the general fund.

The report notes that the shortfall does not include an estimated $5.8 million shortfall in the private bar appropriation of the Office of the State Public Defender, the $140.9 million potential shortfall in the state’s medical assistance program, or the required statutory balance of $65 million.

The administration is currently discussing steps it might take to address the budget shortfall, including debt refinancing and restructuring. The shortfall is large enough that the Governor is authorized under Wis. Stat. 16.50(7) to introduce a budget repair bill. Governor Walker and legislative leaders have indicated that they will not raise taxes to cover the difference.

This post was authored by Emily Kelchen.