The Senate passed budget includes a major health care restructuring. Senate Minority Leader, Republican Scott Fitzgerald, hoped Democrats know what they're doing. Fitzgerald said there's no going back, if the Democrats' “Healthy Wisconsin” plan becomes law — and fails. He even suggested they ask the governor to veto it. The author, Senator Jon Erpenbach, said “Healthy Wisconsin” will be the best plan in the nation. Fitzgerald said the overall Senate budget proves the Democrats are “the party of the tax increase.”
According to analysis by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Senate Democrats' version of the budget totals over $66 billion — compared to Governor Doyle's original request of $58 billion.
A tax on “big oil” makes the cut in the Senate budget. It was a big part of Governor Jim Doyle's budget proposal: go after oil companies to help finance Wisconsin's transportation infrastructure. After all, said Wausau Democrat, Senator Russ Decker, “they can afford it.” The Doyle administration has maintained it can prevent oil companies from passing the tax on to Wisconsin drivers. Minority Leader Fitzgerald still skeptical about that. Fitzgerald also ticked off a long list of tax increases included in the Senate Democrats' budget, including taxes on hospital profits and an increase in the cigarette tax. A conference committee will eventually iron out differences with the Republican controlled state Assembly's version of the budget.