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State Bar predicts big deficit for year

Absent spending cuts, the State Bar of Wisconsin is projecting a $360,000 deficit as of June 30, the end of its fiscal year.

The lapse is largely due to significant drops in revenue, particularly in the seminars division, which is projected to bring in $460,000 less than planned due to sagging attendance at a variety of State Bar offerings.

The bar’s revenues were $700,000 under projections, but the deficit has been cut to $360,000 due to some initial work to make up for the loss. The proposed 2012 budget recommends cuts and drawing on reserve money to try and eliminate the remaining deficit.

Reduced revenues are due to a number of factors, the bar’s finance committee reported. For example, sales of the Ultimate Pass, a one-price option for unlimited Continuing Legal Education for attorneys, aren’t going as well as planned. It is projected sales of the pass will bring in only 78 percent of the money that was anticipated.

In a report on the state of the bar’s finances, Assistant Executive Director Lynda Tanner said the bar’s ability to make up lost revenue will be “limited.”

The bar will continue to work on ways to reduce the deficit in advance of the June 8 Board of Governors meeting, where the board will vote on the proposed 2012 budget.

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