Governor-elect Jim Doyle, Gov. Scott McCallum, and legislative leaders received a report yesterday predicting the current state budget to fall $115 million short of previous estimates.

The report, released by Department of Administration secretary George Lightboum, warns of a budget shortfall of more than $2.5 billion when the current fiscal year ends June 30, 2003.

Lightboum said as late as three weeks ago, the state Department of Revenue expected tax revenues to be $150 million higher than numbers it released yesterday.

Doyle must present his plans to the Legislature, and the two bodies must approve a budget to go into effect July 1.

The governor-elect and Legislature leaders have been optimistic since the Nov. 5 election about working across partisan lines and solving the budget crisis without increasing taxes.

Lightboum said budget predictions are affected by the current volatile economy.

“Sudden swings of this magnitude are unavoidable, and we should expect to see more — though hopefully on the positive side next time,” Lightboum said.

compiled from staff reports