Have both sides bargained in good faith on the state budget? That question was posed Tuesday, as legislative leaders responded to Governor Jim Doyle's call for a special session on the budget. Does Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch believe Democrats have bargained in good faith? "I believe they believe so," replied Huebsch. "At times, I believe they are, and at times, I'm not so sure." Huebsch does believe Governor Jim Doyle has bargained in good faith "every step of the way," but that Doyle just wants to tax and spend more than Republicans are willing to accept.
Asked the same question about the GOP negotiators, Senate Majority Leader Judy Robson says "no" — but doesn't entirely blame Huebsch. "As soon as we get very close to a deal . . the extremists in his caucus pull him back," says Robson. As a result, says Robson, trying to figure out Republican positions has been like "trying to nail Jell-O to a wall." Huebsch charges that "meeting halfway has never been acceptable" to Democrats.