Wednesday, January 31, 2007

DarthDoyle Wants to Spend, Spend, Spend!!

And off to the races we go!

Of course, there are these minor difficulties:

His 2007-'09 budget must control a long-term deficit estimated at $1.6 billion to $2.1 billion, depending on the accounting system used. That gap could also worsen by $277 million, if the state Supreme Court rules against the state in a sales-tax refund claim filed by the Menasha Corp.

Estimating likely expenses through June 30 and tax collections through mid-2009, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau predicted Tuesday a midyear surplus of $110 million - or about $40 million more than the last report, issued in November by Doyle budget aides.

That surplus assumes the Ho-Chunk tribe will pay $30 million the state says it is owed, but which the tribe disputes.

That good news of a higher surplus was jeopardized by a warning of a total of $99.3 million in year-end deficits in four programs, which could lower that midyear surplus to about $11.3 million when state government closes its budget books on June 30.

Fiscal Bureau Director Bob Lang listed those overruns as: $46 million in the Wisconsin Shares program that subsidizes child care costs; $38 million in higher Department of Corrections spending; $9.7 million in Office of the Public Defender; and $5.6 million in the BadgerCare program that provides health care for the working poor.

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