Democratic and Republican leaders have differing views of the state budget signed today. With the governor's signature on the $62 billion, two year spending plan, Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan said he's proud of the budget work done by Democrats – without Republicans.
"We did everything we could to ask them to be a part of this," said Sheridan. "And quite frankly, their response was 'our number one goal is the next election, to take back the majority."
But Assembly Minority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald said Sheridan's Democrats have gone on a tax hiking, fee increasing bender. "You know, we're at five billion in new taxes and fees in just over five months of the legislature being controlled by Democrats," said Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald said the budget signed by Governor Jim Doyle increases state spending by six and a half percent – and pays for it with a variety of tax and fee increases, while doing nothing to spur job creation. He predicts that – absent an improvement in the economy – a budget repair bill will be needed.
State Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Democrats are hanging their hats on a couple of claims. First of all, that they got the budget done on time. "I can tell you right here today, I'd rather be sitting at the conference committee table into September or October, if it meant that we could whittle out some of these tax increases," said Fitzgerald. "It's five billion dollars in new taxes. Five billion with a B. I think once Wisconsinites hear that, and figure out that that's the bottom line on this budget, they're not gonna be happy."
As for Doyle's budget vetoes, Fitzgerald said the governor eliminated some pork in a few items, but otherwise fell far short of the mark, with a budget hung with "Christmas tree ornaments" for Democratic lawmakers to take back to their districts.