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Large budget deficit looms for 2011, says conservative think tank

Wisconsin's next governor will have to deal another big shortfall in state revenues.

The conservative Policy Research Institute says the deficit for the next state budget in 2011 will be at least two-point-two-billion-dollars - even if the economy makes a big recovery.

Former state revenue secretary Rick Chandler says his figures assume that revenues will grow by three-point-two percent during the next budget period, and increases in state spending will be limited. Chandler says politicians won't have federal stimulus funds to bail them out.

His report said the deficit cannot be solved by revenue growth, a freeze in state spending, higher taxes, or cuts in the bureaucracy. In other words, quote, "Nothing that resembles business-as-usual will close Wisconsin's looming budget hole."

Last year, Governor Jim Doyle and legislators used stimulus funds, tax hikes, and spending cuts to cover a six-point-six-billion-dollar shortfall in state revenues for the current budget period. Doyle won't be around to help fix the next budget, since he's not running for re-election this fall.

-- Wheeler News Service