Wisconsin Anticipates $250 Million Budget Shortfall Over COVID-19



By Jessica VanEgeren

July 22, 2020

Cost-saving efforts follow $70 million cut from previous budget earlier this summer. 

The ongoing public health crisis continues to take a toll on the state budget, this time to the tune of at least $250 million.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers directed state Department of Administration Sec. Joel Brennan to work with state agencies to identify that dollar amount in order to trim it from the current budget that began July 1. This comes after Evers announced the need for the state to find $70 million in savings across the state’s 18 largest agencies to maintain services in the previous budget cycle. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on our nation, state, communities, businesses, and families,” Evers said in a statement. “All state and local governments are now experiencing the difficult balance of providing vital services to residents in crisis while also managing tough fiscal realities.”

Evers said while he is “still hopeful the federal government will adopt further bipartisan proposals to stabilize funding for state and local service … the unfortunate reality is that we must take these steps and make more significant cuts.”

A federal aid package depends on negotiations between President Trump, House Democrats, and a split Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate that continued their internal debates Wednesday on what should eventually go in the proposal to Democrats. 

The Washington Post reports the Republican offer will likely not include new aid to states and local government budgets, but will include $25 billion for states to do coronavirus testing and tracing and offer more flexibility in how to use money already allocated under the federal CARES Act in March. 

Evers’ directive is an effort to ensure the state is in a stronger position to weather revenue impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, while also ensuring critical services remain accessible to Wisconsin residents. 

“We have hard and urgent decisions before us, but I have full confidence that my colleagues will rise to the challenge the governor presents us with today,” Brennan said in a statement. “And, we know that Wisconsinites are depending on us to do the right thing. The right thing financially and the right thing to provide support during these uncertain times.”


CATEGORIES: Coronavirus


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