Monday, July 6, 2015

Just in time, budget numbers updated- and they may be worse

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has released the details on the full budget as it stands today. You can use that resource to look at any department as well as the overall picture. Here are a few quick highlights from what I see.

1. The General Fund budget is even tighter than it was when Gov Walker sent it to the Legislature in February.

Gov Walker's budget

2015-16 ending balance +$27.0 million
2016-17 ending balance +$58.0 million

2015-16 lapses $295.0 million
2016-17 lapses $700.0 million

Budget as passed by Joint Finance

2015-16 net balance +$73.3 million (+$46.3 million vs Gov budget)
2016-17 net balance +$21.7 million (-$36.3 million vs Gov budget)

2015-16 lapses $349.2 million (+$54.2 million vs Gov budget)
2016-17 lapses $715.8 million ($15.8 million vs Gov budget)

So the balance is lower by $36 million, and the lapses are higher by $73 million. This means that barring a massive, unpredicted growth in revenues, that there are more cuts to come, and that unmet needs will continue to grow. It also means that the state will have an in-year deficit of nearly $52 million, and a likely higher structural deficit for the next budget. Even worse, if there is any kind of recession or revenue shortfall, this in-session budget completely implodes.

2. The widely debated Transportation budget is also tight. Even if you don't count the $850 million that is being borrowed, the Transportation Fund still pays more in year 1 than I takes in for both years, which means the "breathing room" available declines from $63.8 million to $21.2 million. And since there's a decline in total DOT spending of nearly $360 million from the Fiscal Year 2015 base (a result of reducing borrowing from Governor Walker's figure of $1.3 billion to $850 million), that means the backlog of road projects will grow, and have to be taken care of in the future. And this is with a 2015-17 budget that will spend nearly $900 million more than it takes in, so any extra spending in 2017-19 will add to that amount. If that sounds like a really big clusterfuck, it's only because it is.

3. These budget projections do not count the Bucks bill that was debated today, and may go through the state Legislature later this week (although that is far from certain). If the updated Bucks bill is approved, that would add another $14 million to the spending amounts in year 2 of the budget. This would raise the 2016-17 in=year deficit to nearly $66 million, and leave less than $10 million in breathing room in a budget of nearly $32 billion over 2 years (and that includes the nearly $1.1 billion in lapses).

I'm already in favor of having the Senate Dems do a "Wisconsin 14, Part Deux" if the GOPs go back on their word when it comes to getting the changes to the state's open records law out of the budget, as leaving town will keep the whole thing from getting passed. But when you look at these budget provisions that may well be jammed through the full State Legislature in a course of 72 hours, then maybe that explains why these idiots in WisGOP-land would try to come up with some shiny object to make people even angrier, so they don't talk about their financial mismanagement. Sorry guys, I can't see that strategy working well.

1 comment:

  1. Essential read. These hidden files in the GOP Budget propel Wisconsin to financial ruin.