That leads to the second aspect of the claim: Is the budget more in arrears now than when Walker took office?
Asked to back up the claim, Falk said she is referring to the $137 million budget deficit Walker had to clean up from the last six months of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s final budget.
She’s comparing it to a new shortfall that has popped up only eight months into Walker’s two-year budget.
Indeed, a projected deficit of $350 million has cropped up in the two-year budget that started in July 2011, mainly because tax collection estimates are not coming in at the level the budget anticipated.
Both the $137 million and the $350 million figures are derived from a report by the fiscal bureau, which periodically measures how finances are faring during the time a budget is in place. For instance, in May 2011 the fiscal bureau reported improved tax collection estimates, infusing another $600 million into the current budget. That proved too optimistic.
While the current $350 million is clearly larger, both the Doyle deficit and the new Walker deficit are small -- 1 or 2 percent of the total budget.