A Budget Primer

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

moneypuzzleJust in case you missed the reasoned explanation, last week’s talk of the Wisconsin state budget crashing deep into deficit territory is a giant load of bunk.

Democrats were quick to pounce on—and exploit—projections that on current trajectory the budget would go $1.8 billion into the red, in effect creating a deficit half as big as the one Democrats abandoned on the doorstep as the Walker administration entered office in 2011. It had to be sweet news for gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, a participant in that deficit-producing Doyle administration.

Ah, but there’s that problematic phrase, “on current trajectory.”  What it means is Democrats are partying now (“See? See? Walker’s almost half as bad as we were!”) willfully pretending the Walker administration will do exactly what they did, and mindlessly drive the budget over a cliff instead of balancing it in the ample time available.

Here’s reality: Despite revenues falling short of projections, the 2013-14 fiscal year ended with a $443 million surplus.  The current two-year budget is projected to end June 30, 2015 with a $116 million shortfall but balanced by a Rainy Day Fund holding more money than ever before.

The projected $1.8 billion “deficit” would occur June 30, 2017 at the end of a budget nobody’s written yet, and that’s if revenue collections continue to slump and knowing all this, the administration simply refuses to adjust spending priorities.

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