Governor Walker Releases Balanced Budget Legislation

UPDATED Wednesday, March 30, 2011 --- 2:40 p.m.

Democrats back latest Walker budget plan

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Democratic legislative leaders are getting behind Gov. Scott Walker's latest plan to address the state's current $137 million budget shortfall.

Walker introduced his latest plan on Wednesday, which relies heavily on debt refinancing to save $165 million.

Walker had previously proposed steps to balance the budget as part of the collective bargaining law that were removed before that measure passed earlier this month.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca both praised the plan, saying it was the approach Walker should have taken from the beginning instead of also going after collective bargaining rights.

The Legislature is expected to vote on the plan Tuesday.

The future of the collective bargaining law remains in limbo given ongoing legal challenges.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 30, 2011 --- 1:40 p.m.

Walker re-introduces debt restructuring plan

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has re-introduced his plan to refinance state debt and make other changes to balance the state's budget projected to be $137 million short by the end of the fiscal year in June.

Walker had previously proposed steps to balance the budget as part of the collective bargaining law that were removed before that measure passed earlier this month.

The biggest piece of the proposal Walker introduced Wednesday is debt refinancing that would save $165 million.

Walker says in a statement that those savings will allow the state to address shortfalls in the Department of Corrections and Medicaid programs.

The Legislature is expected to vote on the plan Tuesday.

The future of the collective bargaining law remains in limbo given ongoing legal challenges.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2011 --- 1:00 p.m.

NOTE: The following is a PRESS RELEASE from the Governor's Office:

MADISON—Governor Scott Walker today released legislation that will allow the state to end the year with a balanced budget, protect middle-class taxpayers, and keep healthcare coverage for the state’s most vulnerable citizens.

“This legislation will allow the state to finish this year’s budget in the black without raising taxes on the middle-class,” said Governor Scott Walker. “The balanced budget legislation also allows us to put an additional $176.5 million into healthcare for the poor.”

The legislation will also refinance the state debt, lowering the state’s interest payments, allowing the state to fulfill the necessary Medicaid commitments for low-income families; funding that the previous administration did not have in its budget. It will also allow the state to address the deficit of $22 million in the Department of Corrections.

Additional details of the Governor’s legislation are below:

Debt Refinancing – The bill authorizes the refinancing of principal payments in fiscal year 2010-11 on the state's general obligation bonds. These principal repayments will be paid in future years. This provision will reduce debt service costs by $165 million in fiscal year 2010-11.

Address FY11 Medicaid deficit – Medicaid costs are expected to exceed current GPR appropriations by $176.5 million. The bill would increase the Medicaid GPR appropriation to address this shortfall, ensuring continued coverage for low-income families.

Corrections – The bill provides $22 million GPR to address shortfalls in the Department of Corrections adult institutions appropriation. These shortfalls are due to health care costs, overtime, and reductions in salary and fringe benefit budgets under Act 28.

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Funding for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – The bill allocates $37 million of excess TANF revenues to increase TANF funding for the EITC from $6.6 million to $43.6 million in fiscal year 2010-11. By increasing TANF funding, GPR funding for the EITC is reduced by a commensurate amount.

Act 28 Required Lapses by DOA Secretary – Under Act 28, the Department of Administration Secretary is required to lapse or transfer a total of $680 million in 2009-11 from appropriations made to executive branch agencies to the general fund. The bill would reduce this amount by $79 million to ensure the lapses can be met in the next three months as this was ineffectively addressed by the previous administration.


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