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Madison — Today Governor-elect Scott Walker released information to put the current 2011 fiscal year budget shortfall in perspective. 

“I have received extensive budget briefings on both our overall $3.3 billion structural deficit and the current fiscal year shortfall,” said Walker.  “It’s important to keep all options on the table.  If the lame duck legislature passes employee contracts now, their action will tie my hands when trying to deal with the deficit moving forward.”

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, in fiscal year 2011 (which ends June 30th) the State of Wisconsin is facing:

  • A $148 million shortfall in Medicaid;
  • A $9.5 million shortfall in the Office of Public Defender; and
  • A $90.7 million shortfall in the Transportation Fund.

If the legislature doesn’t act to directly deal with these very specific budget issues Walker projects the FY11 budget shortfall will be $150 million or higher. 

To put this shortfall in perspective Walker released the following information:

  • Requiring state workers to make a 5% contribution to their own pensions would save the state $95 million in FY11 if implemented from January through June.
  • Adjustments could also be made to state employees’ health insurance plans to allow an additional $59 million of savings to be realized yet this fiscal year.

Along with this new information, Walker released the following statement:

When faced with the choice of bringing public sector employee benefits in line with the private sector or cutting core government services, it would be best to have a range of options on the table moving forward.

A whole host of options will be taken off the table if the legislative majorities come into special or extraordinary session with the sole purpose of passing government worker contracts.  If the legislative majorities ram through union contracts prior to dealing with the budget shortfall they created, it will be much more difficult to protect those Wisconsinites who receive MA or who are in need of help from public defenders.

Governor-elect Walker will discuss this new information that puts the budget shortfall in perspective Tuesday at the Milwaukee Press Club's Newsmaker Luncheon. 

WHEN:   Tuesday, 12:15-1:15pm
WHERE:  Newsroom Pub, 137 E. Wells St., Milwaukee, WI