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Schachtner defeats Jarchow in special election

Lots of ideas on how to fix state's $3 billion budget hole

We won't know until at least November how much Wisconsin's next state budget will be in the red.

But with an early estimate of $3 billion, there's no shortage of opinions of what Madison should do.

Joel Rogers of the University of Wisconsin Center on Wisconsin Strategy expects Gov. Jim Doyle to propose a hospital tax for the third time next February, saying the state needs the resulting increase in Medicaid funding.

Rogers says it's also time to extend the sales tax to services which are now exempt, like attorney fees and hair styling.

He also says lawmakers should consider combined reporting, the idea of making companies report income from all their U.S. subsidiaries, to avoid shifting Wisconsin income to no- or lower-tax states.

Arturo Perez of the National Conference of State Legislatures says tax revenues are dropping throughout the country and that won't change anytime soon.

He expects the same type of recession we went through eight years ago.

But Dale Knapp of the Wisconsin Taxpayers' Alliance says it could be even be worse here, perhaps like the one from early 1980s.

He says the state relies on vulnerable industries like agriculture, tourism and manufacturing at a time tax revenues have already slipped.