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 budget.
�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 million.
�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 loopholes.
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.