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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke says the latest state revenue projections show how "fiscally irresponsible" Scott Walker has been. The Revenue Department issued preliminary figures yesterday showing that state tax collections were 281-million dollars less than projected for the fiscal year ending June 30th. That does not include 25-million dollars in casino revenues fees the Potawatomi tribe is withholding in a dispute with Walker over the proposed Menominee Hard Rock casino at Kenosha. Burke said she was right earlier this year, when she wondered if Walker and his legislative Republicans cut taxes beyond a fiscally-responsible level. Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said Republicans have managed taxpayers' money well, and will keep doing so. The state would have to either cut spending or raise revenues by next June 30th to prevent the current two-year budget from ending with a 115-million dollar shortfall. The state has enough in its 280-million dollar rainy day fund to cover the lag in tax collections -- but the Legislature would have to approve its use. State law requires that the budget be balanced, although there are normally commitments that stretch into the next budget period. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau says the budget which takes effect next July already has a 642-million dollar structural deficit.
State officials said Wisconsin added just under 29-thousand private sector jobs in the 12-months ending in March. We'll find out September 18th how the increase compares with other states, when the federal government releases its Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. In the last census report, Wisconsin gained just over 28-thousand jobs for the year ending last December -- a one-point-two percent job growth rate that was about half the national increase. The new figure is about 500 jobs higher than the previous one.
An 18-year-old Milwaukee man was charged yesterday in the shooting deaths of two men during a robbery. Richard Littlejohn Junior faces two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Prosecutors said he went to a north side Milwaukee apartment on April 21st, where he allegedly killed 34-year-old Willie Shankle and 32-year-old Darius Parker. Investigators said Shankle talked about buying a gun -- and Littlejohn then pulled a .22-caliber handgun and shot Shankle six times and shot Parker four times. Officials said Littlejohn then stole money from Shankle's pockets and ran away. Prosecutors said 60-year-old Kenneth Wright then drove Littlejohn away from the murder scene. Wright is charged with aiding and harboring a felon, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest