Not a perfect budget, but better than a shutdown. The governor is pleased with the state budget compromise, especially compared with the alternative. Governor Jim Doyle has to make do with a buck a pack increase in the cigarette tax and a one time, $200 million transfer from the patients compensation fund to help pay for state programs over the next two years. Doyle didn't get all the new taxes and spending he originally wanted, but says the state should be able to avoid layoffs. “It is going to require some very difficult management of state agencies,” said Doyle. “The level of the cuts that are being imposed on state agencies are significant.”
That's better than what could have begun this week, had the budget deadlock continued: partial government shutdowns. “There's no real reason to say where it would have started,” said Doyle. “It would have been very severe.” The budget deal brokered last week goes to a final meeting of the conference committee today, and on to votes in the Assembly and Senate on Tuesday.