Walker not planning for country going over cliff
MADISON If the country goes over the so-called "fiscal cliff" in January, it could mean a loss of several hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue to Wisconsin and force Gov. Scott Walker to propose a more austere state budget than he hoped.
For now, Walker is taking a wait-and-see approach. His budget isn't due to be released until February — and by then President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans may reach a deal to avoid an automatic series of spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to take effect at the start of the new year.
The lack of a deal would result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to the state due to a drop in the gross national product and personal income, said Bob Lang, director of the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
The Legislative Fiscal Bureau will release its economic forecast in mid-January. Those numbers will be used by the Legislature when building the budget for the next two years.
Lang said his office hasn't done an estimate on what effect going over the cliff will have, but he said it has to translate into "several hundreds of millions in tax revenues."
But Walker said Wednesday that he was not preparing an alternate budget in case the country goes over the cliff.
"What we have in Washington, every day, every hour, is pretty fluid there. So it's pretty hard to prepare because I don't think we really know," Walker said. "Each of the major proposals that were on the table yesterday were largely dollar amounts without a lot of specifics attached to them. So it's hard to prepare without knowing substantively what's in each of the plans."