The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
Gov. Scott Walker faces a $693 million hole as he draws up his 2017-19 biennial budget plans, the Department of Administration reported Monday.
That amount is significantly less than the $2.2 billion hole projected at this point in the budget process two years ago — which precipitated Walker proposing a $300 million cut to the UW System. It is nearly six times more than the $117.4 million projected shortfall from the 2013-15 budget — which featured broad income tax cuts.
The hole represents all projected state revenue minus agency spending requests, which always include proposals that ultimately won’t be included in the governor’s budget proposal.
Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel noted the two largest drivers of the increase in tax-supported spending were the Department of Public Instruction’s request for $508 million more for K-12 funding and the Department of Health Services’ request for $450 million to continue current Medicaid service levels.
Year-over-year agency spending requests would be up 0.9 percent in 2017-18 and 3.2 percent in 2018-19, for total projected state spending of $76 billion over two years.
The state is on track to spend $71.3 billion in the current biennium.
Yes, for normal people $693 million is a lot of money. But read the last paragraph, then read this from the MacIver Institute:
Do the math (which the State Journal did not do), and the theoretical deficit is all of 0.97 percent of the 2015–17 budget. It’s not even a theoretical deficit because the 2017–19 budget hasn’t even been introduced, let alone become law yet.
Now, as readers know, state and local government in this state are literally twice the size that population growth and inflation justify since the late 1970s. So if Walker or legislative Republicans want to chop the budget, be my guest. But to claim there is a budget “crisis” as the obligatory Democratic bleaters claimed in the State Journal story is simply false.