UPDATE: Wisconsin shortfall projected at $1.8 billion

UPDATED Tuesday September 9, 2014 --- 3:00 p.m.

Wisconsin's budget could be $1.8 billion dollars in the red come 2017. That's according to a new report from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Now as democrats jump to blame Walker initiatives NBC 15 talks with the director of the bureau about who is really responsible for the projected shortcoming.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, using the projection as proof that Walker shouldn't get to keep his job.

"Scott Walker is a one trick pony. He balanced his first budget but then like a career politician he put the special interest first, he spent money that we don't have and he made fiscally irresponsible decisions," said Burke Tuesday.

But republican representative John Nygren chairs the joint finance committee and says the democrats are just blowing this out of proportion.

"I think the opposition, I think the democrats who are trying to challenge the governor are trying to paint a picture of despair when the reality is the number are looking pretty good," said Nygren.

So which is it? Are the numbers looking good, or is there a billion dollar problem lurking? Bob Lang with the bureau says it's both.

"We are not in a deficit situation. We will end 13-14 with a balance I suspect somewhere around $400 million," said Lang.

A surplus this year, but projected for the 15-17 budget, a $1.8 billion deficit. Now Lang says this is no ones fault, not the governor or the legislature.

"The national economy is weaker than than it was when the estimates were prepared back in January," said Lang.

Simply put: He says there was a 2% shortfall in tax collections this year. And using that information they projected what things will be like in 2017 if nothing changes.

"This is based on no growth, no change in expenditures, our record has been that every year we've been in office I've finished with a surplus, going forward, every year I'm in office we'll finish with a surplus," said Governor Scott Walker.

The legislature will have to come up with a way to balance this budget come January.

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UPDATED Monday September 8, 2014 --- 11:05 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Legislature's nonpartisan Fiscal Bureau says the projected shortfall for the next two-year state budget ending in mid-2017 stands at nearly $1.8 billion.

The Fiscal Bureau released the latest estimate on Monday. The projected shortfall, or structural deficit, is nearly triple what was forecast in May.

That shortfall is on top of the projected deficit in the current two-year budget, which is expected to hit nearly $396 million by the middle of next year.

All of the estimates are subject to further revision depending on exactly how much the state spends in coming months and how closely future tax collections come in relative to estimates used to building the budget.

The Legislature will write the next two year budget next year.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, January 16, 2014 --- 4:23 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- News that Wisconsin's budget surplus is projected to top $977 million is setting off a feeding frenzy in the Capitol among lobbyists, special interest groups, and lawmakers.

Gov. Scott Walker is saying he wants to return the money to taxpayers in the form of property and income tax cuts.

But Democrats and liberal advocacy groups said Thursday the money should be used to help the middle class with programs that will put people back to work. There are also calls to increase spending on public schools and higher education and plug spending holes in the Medicaid program.

Republican Senate President Mike Ellis says "everybody and their cousins from other states" will be trying to get a piece of the money.

Walker is to release his tax cut plan Wednesday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, January 16, 2014 --- 2:40 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's budget surplus is projected to be about $1 billion by mid-2015.

The updated figures were provided to The Associated Press on Thursday by two sources briefed by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to release the figures.

Gov. Scott Walker is working with Republican legislative leaders on a tax cut proposal using a portion of the surplus. He plans to unveil the plan in his State of the State speech on Wednesday. Walker has said it will cut property and income taxes, but he's not yet released details.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he wants to use some of the money to reduce technical college property tax levies, replacing that revenue with money from the state.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, January 16, 2014 --- 9:48 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he wants to tap a state surplus to reduce property taxes levied and collected by technical colleges in Wisconsin.

Vos tells The Associated Press on Thursday that he is pushing for that approach with Gov. Scott Walker. The governor says he plans to use the surplus to cut property taxes and income taxes, but he won't release details until his State of the State speech on Wednesday.

Vos says "buying down" the technical college levy would be the best way to provide property tax relief statewide without creating big winners and losers.

Technical colleges levied about $796 million in property taxes this fiscal year.

The new state tax collection estimates were to be released later Thursday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 --- 6:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Updated budget figures for Wisconsin expected to show a surplus nearing $1 billion are on the way.

Policy makers are anxiously awaiting the figures due to be released Thursday by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Gov. Scott Walker plans to announce his plans for the surplus during his State of the State speech on Jan. 22. But his spokeswoman says the governor is eyeing property and income tax cuts.

News of the surplus comes as Walker and Republicans who control the Legislature are preparing to stand for re-election in November.

Democrats are already raising concerns about Walker's plan to cut taxes, saying he instead should be focused on finding ways to create jobs.

The Legislature last year cut income taxes by $650 million and property taxes by $100 million.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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