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State lawmakers consider budget cuts if federal funding dries up


MADISON (WSAU) Some Wisconsin Assembly Republicans want to make state agencies plan for possible cut-offs in federal funding when they make their budget requests every two years. The Assembly Ways-and-Means Committee held a public hearing yesterday on a bill that demands contingency plans for federal defaults like the one that’s possible next week.

Freshman Representative Michelle Litjens of the Oshkosh area said officials must find ways to provide services with state funds if the federal money stops coming.

Earlier this week, the Walker administration said it has enough money to replace lost federal funding for three months. And the state might need to set new spending priorities if the default goes much longer than that. Even if the federal debt ceiling is raised now, Litjens says the Washington budget crisis will return – and the state has to be ready. Litjens admits her bill may need more research, because it’s not certain if state agencies could provide the analysis the measure requires.

The departments would have to analyze how federal defaults would affect their programs, and come up with strategies to deal with it. Governor Scott Walker could do the same thing with an administrative order. His spokesman Cullen Werwie said the administration would have to make adjustments, because a default would affect some state agencies less than others.