Wisconsin revenue $281 million below projections
MADISON — Wisconsin tax collections for the past year came in 2 percent short of estimates, the state Department of Revenue reported Thursday, news that won't require immediate emergency action by the Legislature but that puts the state's budget on track to be out of balance next year.
The figures show the state collected $281.2 million less for the fiscal year that ended in June than was anticipated by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature have cut taxes by nearly $2 billion since Walker took office in 2011, including $500 million in March, a fact they've trumpeted on the campaign trail but that Democrats say has put the state's budget in jeopardy.
On Thursday, Walker and Republicans went into damage control, saying the economy is still heading in the right direction but ignoring the fact that the news means the budget will not be balanced next year. The figures come just over two months before the election in a race for governor that's focused heavily on which candidate is better for the state's economy.
Democrats said the news is evidence that the Republican agenda isn't working and it's time for a change.
"Scott Walker has no one to blame but himself and the Republican lawmakers who have driven Wisconsin's economy right into the ditch," said Democratic state Sen. Bob Jauch, a former member of the Legislature's budget committee.
Walker faces Democrat Mary Burke on Nov. 4. Polls show the race is a dead heat. All 99 seats in the Assembly and 17 of 33 state Senate seats also will be determined in the election.