Badger Blog Alliance

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Doyle: deficit will exceed $5 billion. Trust me.

Governor Jim Doyle is out lowering expectations for the next budget cycle – or maybe softening up the electorate for the tax increases Democrats have already decided to pass.

Gov. Jim Doyle gave a grim assessment of the state budget Tuesday, saying the two-year deficit would top $5 billion, making it by far the biggest budget gap in state history.

That deficit is for the two-year period beginning July 1. But the state also faces a $400 million to $500 million shortage between now and then because of the national economic crisis, he said.
Guess what’s missing from this story? Backup for their numbers. We don’t know where they came from. How they’re calculating that. Why is it $5 billion? What assumptions are they making about our revenues? About the state’s spending commitments?

To go from the previous $3 billion – which itself was inflated – to $5 billion means they’re expecting tax revenues to fall by that much, or spending to increase by that much, or some combination of both. If Governor Doyle offered any such explanation, it wasn’t included in the story, and I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Not even on the internet.

It's as if he's assuming that Democrats are going to jack up government spending! By a lot!

Doyle goes on to say that he’ll “do everything humanly possible to avoid any general tax increase,” but, y’know, with a problem that big, you’ve gotta look at everything.

And, indeed, he’s already re-proposing the hospital tax, and the Department of Transportation budget proposal includes the $400 million oil company tax. You remember that: it’s the tax Governor Doyle will absolutely forbid the oil companies from passing on to consumers through higher prices.

Although maybe he'd better hope he's wrong about that Higher prices at the pump mean more gas tax revenue for the state, and the state’s gonna need that extra revenue to fight the oil company lawsuits.

Anyway, I guess we have a pretty good idea how the next eight months are going to go. Not that we didn’t already.