WTA President: State budget deficit can be reduced
By: Steve Roisum, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A budget analyst says Wisconsin’s projected $2.5 billion deficit for the next budget cycle is not insurmountable.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau bases the budget hole on what the state is expected to take in from taxes, assuming state agencies won’t spend more then what’s in their current, individual budgets.
Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, says that amount is broken down to a roughly $1.3 billion deficit for fiscal year 2011 and a similar sized deficit for fiscal year 2012. He says if lawmakers can make unpopular spending cuts, the 2012 deficit could be filled. Berry says some politicians agree the short-term fixes have to stop.
“We have kicked the can forward year after year after year,” says Berry. He adds it’s probably too late to plug the 2011 hole.
“The recovery is somewhat halting and somewhat slow, and that means state tax revenues are not going to grow the way maybe they do when the economy is surging. So we can’t count on some recovery dividend to come to our rescue.”
Of course, Berry says it’s possible the projected $2.5 billion deficit could go even higher.
Berry spoke in La Crosse at one of a series of economic summits going on through the state, sponsored by a wide range of groups including Alliant Energy, and the Wisconsin Builders Association.