The state budget is now more than three months overdue, but lawmakers are facing virtually no penalties for delaying the process. Many in the legislature want to see that change though and have begun introducing a wide variety of proposal to penalize members in the future.
Assembly Democrats have called for sequestering the conference committee until a budget is done. Others want to block lawmakers from getting paid until a budget agreement is worked out. Another proposal would make it much harder for the state to continue spending at prior year funding levels than current law allows.
Some of those ideas may come across as far-fetched, but the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's Mike McCabe says it's clear some lawmakers feel there need to be real consequences when the budget is late. McCabe says the process is broken and the current stalemate is all the evidence lawmakers need to see that.
McCabe says all of the proposals being rolled out by lawmakers could be effective in getting future budgets done on time. However, he thinks one option that needs a closer look is to block lawmakers from raising campaign funds while the budget is under negotiation. McCabe says doing so would prevent leaders from dragging out the budget process in order to milk special interests for more money.