The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee has perhaps the largest say in what version of the biennial budget state lawmakers eventually vote on. With Democrats now controlling the Senate, it means an evenly split panel of eight Democrats and Eight Republicans. It was a twelve and four split during the previous budget process.
Governor Jim Doyle hopes that change will benefit the budget process by making lawmakers more willing to work together. Doyle says it should prevent one party from "steam rolling" the other, and forcing him to work out the issues in the end.
However, Doyle is concerned about gridlock within the committee. But he hopes the recent elections will help break that up by reminding lawmakers that the public wants things to actually get done.
The Governor is expected to present his budget plan early next year.