Monday, April 9, 2007

Structural quicksand

On March 20, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett testified before the State Joint Finance Committee about the "Milwaukee Initiative," the money appropriated for Milwaukee in Governor Doyle’s proposed 2007-09 budget.

The verdict? He wants more money.

While that’s not a shocking statement from the mayor, the looming budget gap he noted is a little surprising. Even with $4 million in additional state shared revenue and a 3% property tax increase, the city is facing a $12.5 million funding gap for 2008 when increases for only a few programs are taken into account (most notably, an additional 100 Milwaukee police officers over the next two years).

Of course, the mayor has time to find other revenue and make cuts to balance this gap before he proposes his own budget in September. His statement makes it clear, however, that the city is still facing a significant structural deficit (the gap between ongoing revenues and the cost to continue).

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