MADISON (WSAU) State Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch (hipsh) says the governor will have the ability to cut taxes in the next state budget – for now, at least. In a report yesterday to Governor Scott Walker and lawmakers, Huebsch said the state would end the current budget next June with a 342-million dollar net surplus. He said the Republican Walker has the money to achieve his stated desire to cut income taxes. And there are several ways he can deal with the requests by state agencies for $171-million more dollars than the available revenues in the next budget.
But Huebsch admits his projections could go south if Congress does not avoid the automatic federal tax hikes and spending cuts due to take effect in January. Early estimates say Wisconsin could lose at least $94-million federal dollars if the so-called “fiscal cliff” is not averted in Washington. Huebsch also says his budget numbers do not include what the state might have to pay to run the Obama health reform law – and there’s a chance that prison costs might cut into the state’s reserves.
Meanwhile, Walker’s people are facing outside pressures to use whatever available money the state does have. Business groups want tens-of-millions of new dollars for vocational training and start-up companies. Minority Democrats say the G-O-P should scrap any plans for a tax cut, and restore at least part of the public school and university funding that was slashed in the last two years to help remove a huge state deficit.