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Burke: Budget shortfall shows fiscal irresponsibility

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke says the latest state revenue projections show how "fiscally irresponsible" Scott Walker has been.

The Revenue Department issued preliminary figures yesterday showing that state tax collections were $281-million less than projected for the fiscal year ending June 30th. That does not include $25-million dollars in casino revenues fees the Potawatomi tribe is withholding in a dispute with Walker over the proposed Menominee Hard Rock casino at Kenosha.

Burke said she was right earlier this year, when she wondered if Walker and his legislative Republicans cut taxes beyond a fiscally-responsible level.

Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said Republicans have managed taxpayers' money well, and will keep doing so. The state would have to either cut spending or raise revenues by next June 30th to prevent the current two-year budget from ending with a $115-million shortfall. The state has enough in its $280-million rainy day fund to cover the lag in tax collections -- but the Legislature would have to approve its use. State law requires that the budget be balanced, although there are normally commitments that stretch into the next budget period.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the budget which takes effect next July already has a $642-million structural deficit.