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In his recent budget address, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said, “The facts are clear: Wisconsin is broke and it’s time to start paying our bills today.” Perhaps the “facts” aren’t entirely clear for the Governor, given new improved revenue forecasts as well as more balanced revenue options that are available to lawmakers and described in a new report.
The Wisconsin Budget Project is reporting that the state’s revenue forecast has improved. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released an updated revenue estimate saying that the state is likely to have an additional $636 million in revenue before the end of the 2013 fiscal year compared to earlier estimates. This breaks down into $233 million above current projections for the current fiscal year and $200 million more in each of the next two years.
Even without this revenue boost, of course, there are ways to address budget gaps that don’t include union busting, cutting recycling programs, and massive cuts to education. The Institute on Wisconsin’s Future (IWF) recently released their updated Catalog of Reform Options for Wisconsin, which outlines a set of options for reforming the sales tax, business taxes, and personal income tax.
Wisconsin lawmakers will certainly find more useful ideas in IWF’s catalog than in Governor Walker’s proposals.