MADISON (AP) - Wisconsin's state budget is balanced-depending on the measure used to analyze it.
Gov. Scott Walker has said for months that he and the state's Republican government balanced the state budget through the normal measure of cash accounting.
But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday that Walker's administration also told the federal government last month the budget is not balanced when using a different accounting method that considers pending expenses.
Under that method, known as "generally accepted accounting principles," the state has a deficit. That has been the case for years, including the previous Democratic administrations under Gov. Jim Doyle. Nevertheless, Democrats accuse Walker of using budget double speak.
If Wisconsin can show it has a deficit, federal law will allow the state to drop tens of thousands of adults from Medicaid programs to save money on health care costs. Walker has said he wants to cut health care spending in other ways, but if the federal government doesn't approve those, he said he has not ruled out dropping coverage for 53,000 adults.
To keep that option alive, state Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch wrote in a December letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the state would have an undisclosed deficit from Jan. 1 of this year through June 30, 2013.
"It's nothing more than what we've been saying all along," Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said. The administration already had acknowledged that it had a GAAP deficit in state financial documents, estimated at $3 billion for this fiscal year and next fiscal year, Werwie said.
But when Walker campaigned for office in 2010, he called for the use of generally accepted accounting principles to balance every state budget.
Rep. Robin Vos, Republican co-chairman of the Legislature's budget committee, said work continues to eliminate the so-called GAAP deficit that has existed for more than a decade.
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