For the first time since 1977, Wisconsin's state budget has been signed into law before the end of the fiscal year.
Governor Jim Doyle signed the budget bill Monday morning during a ceremony at the Executive Residence. Doyle says the $62 billion spending plan protects his top priorities, while making some of the deepest cuts ever in state history.
The governor made 81 vetoes to the plan, which he says will reduce spending by $10 million. Those include changes to provisions on education funding, motor vehicle insurance requirements, and the state's film tax credit program. Doyle also vetoed a provision that would have allowed for the creation of a Milwaukee regional transit authority, saying the measure put the process on the "wrong track."
Many items remained untouched in the budget, such as a plan to lower capital gains tax exemptions and a 75-cent increase in the cigarette tax. The budget also makes cuts to state agencies across the board and could result in over a thousand state workers being laid off.
Republicans say the plan is filled with special interest policy items and billions in new spending. Doyle maintains that it actually cuts state spending and any increase is due to funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Governor says it's easy for Republicans to criticize from the sidelines.