Wisconsin's Governor says lawmakers "should be embarrassed" that the budget process is taking so long. "In the end you've got to go into a room and sit down and not come out until the budget's done."
Governor Jim Doyle says Wisconsin lawmakers don't have a more difficult task than other legislatures in putting together a budget, and other states are already done. "The way this works is, I proposed a budget in February. It's now been seven months. I would think the legislators would be getting embarrassed instead of lashing out and trying to blame other people."
Republican Assemblyman Jeff Fitzgerald, who's on the Legislative Conference Committee, says the governor needs to be more involved in the budget process. However, Doyle says his office is in constant contact with members involved in the budget compromise. "Daily … my office every day is in contact with members — the leaders — of the conference committee. We are back and forth between offices. We are trying to get them focused on where their points of agreements are, and where their points of disagreement are."
The governor points out that school starts next week, and since there's no budget, districts across the state are entering the new school year with financial uncertainty. "The result is that if we just continue on with no budget it will result in large property tax increases and $80-million in cuts to our schools."
Doyle says he'd LOVE to pass the final budget, but it's not up to him, it's the job of state lawmakers to agree on a plan and get it to his desk. So how long can Wisconsin go without a new budget? "You know, it depends on how much discomfort the legislature's willing to impose on the people of Wisconsin."
Wisconsin is the last state in the nation whose legislature has not passed a budget. State law requires lawmakers to pass a budget by July 1st, two months ago.