Wisconsin budget gap is big, but hardly biggest

How much money does it take to be in the middle class?


Bob Moon: Big budget cuts in Wisconsin have already sparked mass protests by government workers intent on defending their collective bargaining rights. Today, Republican Governor Scott Walker is set to announce more targets for spending cuts. All the nationwide attention this story has been getting raises a question: Is Wisconsin's budget really worse than other states?

Marketplace Jeff Tyler has some answers.

Jeff Tyler: Starting in July, Wisconsin faces an expected budget shortfall of $1.8 billion for the next year. That's about 13 percent of the state's total budget.

Nick Johnson with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities puts Wisconsin's shortfall in perspective.

Nick Johnson: The nationwide budget shortfall among all the states is about 20 percent of state spending. So, Wisconsin's budget shortfall is certainly significant, but smaller than the national average.

Just about every state faces some kind of budget gap. Nevada's red ink represents about 45 percent of its budget. Texas and New Jersey both face shortfalls that exceed 30 percent of their budgets. Ohio is more in line with Wisconsin at around 11 percent. Like Wisconsin, Ohio is also considering changes to collective bargaining that it says are needed to balance the budget.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.


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