(H/T – Kevin Fischer)
Just a few days after Gov. Jim Doyle estimated the structural deficit for the next biennial budget at $5 billion, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Doyle was 8% low on that estimate, and it is now $5.4 billion that needs to be shoveled into the next budget. There’s a few new numbers in the Journal Sentinel story that should bug one’s eyes out:
- Aid for public schools is now $5.1 billion per year, and given the unrestrained increases in school spending, the state would need to pump in an additional $480 million on top of the $10.2 billion it would spend to keep the 66% state funded promise. Personally, I believe it would need to be much higher given the average 5%-6% increase in spending (and 9%-15% increase in tax levy) for the coming school year.
- Compensation for state employees totaled $2.1 billion last year. Madison, we have an overage of employees, even if Doyle refuses to acknowledge it. Say, whatever happened to the 10,000-job cut that Doyle promised back in 2002?
- Despite the collapsed economy, the state wants to spend $62.3 billion over the next 2 years, $2.8 billion more than was budgeted over the past 2 years. For those paying attention to the percentages, that’s a 4.7% increase in spending. For those paying attention to the shortfall, that increase is over half the “shortfall”. Did any of you non-union/non-government workers get a 4.7% increase in pay over the last 2 years?
- There is a $346 million hole in this budget, caused entirely by an over-estimation of tax revenues. The state will be collecting $509 million less in taxes than it did last year.
- For those considering tax increases (like Doyle and the Dems), they won’t begin to cover this hole. That hospital tax Doyle and the hospitals are keen on sticking to us would bring in only $400 million over 2 years. The oil tax Doyle wants would bring in maybe $393 million in that same time. Even a 10% increase in the individual income tax would bring in only $1.4 billion over 2 years.
I personally like the last part of Rep. Pedro Colon’s (D-Milwaukee) comments – “I think, at some point, whether it’s this Legislature or the next one, we’re going to have to start talking about how we increase revenue"‚."‚."‚."‚or the state is going to have to get used to really severe cuts.”
Break out the chainsaws.