The Wisconsin Legislature will meet in a special session
next week to repair a budget that has come up short more than $427 million
between this year and next.
Gov. Jim Doyle called the special session Wednesday night to
meet one week from today to fix the shortfall caused by lower-than-expected tax
revenues after economic slowdown in the state.
Doyle must introduce a budget repair bill, which will then
face debate in the state Legislature but must pass eventually to rebalance the
?Failing to quickly address this spending imbalance will
have severe consequences for the state?s fiscal health,? Department of
Administration Secretary Michael Morgan said in a statement to Doyle and other
lawmakers Wednesday, certifying the shortfall numbers.
According to Morgan?s statement, the state?s expenditures
will exceed tax revenues by $76.9 million in the 2007-08 fiscal year and $350.9
million in the 2008-09 fiscal year, despite $111 million in cuts from the DOA
earlier this year and rolling over some loan repayment, saving the state $125.4
?The budget imbalance has serious consequences if left
unresolved,? Doyle said in a statement. ?It is imperative that we find a
responsible solution that protects our basic values, continues vital services
and maintains our financial integrity.?
Both Doyle and Republican legislators have said they hope
not to raise taxes to counter the shortfall.
?Trim state spending and not raise taxes. Those are the two
most important goals going into this,? said John Murray, spokesperson for
Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem.
Murray added Huebsch and other legislative leaders have been
discussing options for addressing the problem with Doyle for more than a month.
Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Weston, has said he
and Senate Democrats plan to approach the shortfall by closing various tax
In his statement, Morgan urged the Legislature to take swift
action on the problem, calling rapid adoption of the legislation ?critical in
maintaining the state?s fiscal integrity and protecting essential services.?
DOA spokesperson Linda Barth has said it is unlikely the UW
System would receive direct cuts related to this issue, though final decisions
are up in the air.
Decker did not return calls requesting comment after Doyle?s
announcement Wednesday night.