The Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau released dismal revenue estimates on Monday boosting the state’s $5 billion deficit in the current fiscal year and through the next biennial budget by another $1.6 billion to $6.6 billion.
Tax revenue in fiscal 2009, which ends June 30, is expected to fall another $408 million below the last estimate and will fall another $573 million in fiscal 2010 and $622 million in fiscal 2011. Individual income tax revenue was down by 35% last month over April 2008 levels and was down 8.3% for the fiscal year to date.
Gov. Jim Doyle last Thursday announced plans to require government employees to take 16 unpaid furlough days over the course of the next budget. He also wants to rescind a 2% pay hike that was to take effect this summer and has ordered spending cuts of at least 5% at the agency level. Doyle remains opposed to raising general taxes to cut the deficit.
“What we all know is that reckless behavior on Wall Street — behavior that we’ve never embraced in Wisconsin — continues its negative effects through our state, our nation and now, the world,” the governor said. “Everyone is paying the price and suffering on some level. Here in Wisconsin we are facing tougher choices than ever about what level of state services we can sustain at a time when people need them most.”