Monday, October 01, 2007

Governor Doyle Warns of Consequences if Legislature Fails to Pass Budget

APPLETON – Governor Jim Doyle today warned of the severe consequences for the state if the Legislature fails to pass a state budget. For over eight months the Legislature has failed to pass a budget, forcing thousands of students onto waiting lists for financial aid, putting the expansion of the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center for sex offenders on hold, and delaying or possibly canceling important road projects across the state.

If the Legislature does not pass a budget, local schools will be forced to layoff teachers or raise property taxes. On October 15, the Department of Public Instruction must notify local school district how much state aid each schools will receive. Without a new budget, property taxes will rise over $600 million.

“The Legislature’s job is to pass a budget,” Governor Doyle said. “A week ago both sides were billions apart, but today we have significantly narrowed the differences. But there is still work to do. I am available to both sides around the clock in order to help them come to an agreement. As Governor, I have to plan for the real consequences that will hit this state if the Legislature continues to fail to pass a budget. Not passing a budget is not an option.”

Some Assembly Republicans have said repeatedly that not having a budget is an option. Just days after the Governor submitted his budget to the Legislature, Republicans requested information from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau on the fiscal impact of a continuation budget. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the bureau estimates the GOP budget scheme would mean a $357 million increase in property taxes, no limits on local property tax levies, transportation projects cut in half, and cuts to state agencies, as well as corrections systems.

Just last week, while Legislative leaders and my Administration were working hard at the Executive Residence, Republican legislators were out saying Wisconsin did not need a budget until Christmas.

The Governor said these Legislators are dead wrong, and need to continue to compromise in order to pass a budget.

· Colleges and universities have already begun the fall session, and without a budget our college students could face a tuition surcharge of over $800.

· Without a budget, the Department of Corrections will face a shortfall of over $370 million over the biennium, and will be unable to fund GPS monitoring of child sexual assault offenders.

· Without a budget, there is no expansion to Family Care. There are currently 11,000 people on waiting lists for the affordable long term care Family Care provides. Every month that Family Care is not implemented, 32 seniors are added to the waiting lists in 27 counties that have already moved toward expanding Family Care.

· SeniorCare will be short more than $9 million. When this occurs, current law requires the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) to stop paying pharmacies for drugs purchased under SeniorCare and allows pharmacies to begin charging our seniors. Seniors under SeniorCare now pay $5 for a prescription for a generic drug. If the Legislature does not pass a budget, the average senior will now pay more than $60 for every single prescription.

· Child care assistance for low-income families will face a $34 million shortfall over the biennium, which means there will be insufficient funds to fully reimburse child care providers.

· BadgerCare will be short more then $11 million, requiring DHFS to cut eligibility levels.

· The state health care system will be 7 percent short of funding in the first fiscal year and 11 percent short in the second. To deal with this, the Department estimates it will need to reduce all hospital, physician and clinic services by 35 percent. Long term care provider reimbursement rates would need to be reduced by 15 percent. Rates for prescription drug services would be reduced by 10 percent. It is estimated that the state will lose $400 million in federal matching funds related to these shortfalls.

· Without new bonding authority, the Department of Transportation will eventually slow or postpone major projects, including: Hwy 41, DePere to Suamico and STH 26 to Breezewood Lane; improvements to Eau Claire Bypass on Hwy 53; the Jefferson Bypass on Hwy 26, and many others.

Over the last week, the Legislature has made significant progress by making real compromises to come to an agreement. The Legislature needs to continue working and narrowing partisan differences, and get this budget done for the citizens of Wisconsin.

For more information on the consequences of the Legislature not passing a budget, go to:


Post a Comment

<< Home