While campaigns dominate, a budget is being assembled

by WisPolitics.com staff

Campaigns still dominate the news, but a new state budget also is creeping into the headlines.

For  months Governor Scott Walker’s team has been working on a new 2-year spending plan — with orders for no additional dollars. But a WisPolitics.com spot check shows more than a third of state agencies defying that directive — including the four largest consumers of current general taxpayer dollars dollars.

Budget watchers say agencies often shoot high in their early drafts. But the Republican governor is likely to stress budget discipline in his own plan — despite an improving state revenue picture. That’s because he’s said to be working to include broad-based income tax cuts.

In 2011, the Republican effort to close a $3.6 billion budget shortfall set off massive protests and a recall. Republicans are trying to recapture the state Senate this fall and maintain Assembly control so they can stay the course.

A proposed budget should emerge from Walker by early next year. After that, it’s off  to the Legislature, then back to the governor for any final changes. If all goes according to plan, the Legislature’s work should be completed by July 1, 2013 — the beginning of the next fiscal year.

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