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EDITORIAL: Governor's power limited in retuning Assembly budget

Referencing the Assembly's conservative budget proposal, Gov. Jim Doyle made an excellent point this morning during a meeting with The Daily Telegram editorial board.

Referencing the Assembly's conservative budget proposal, Gov. Jim Doyle made an excellent point this morning during a meeting with The Daily Telegram editorial board.

"What they did really matters," the Democratic governor said of Republicans. "Some people think everything can be corrected" in conference committee or by gubernatorial veto. "There are some things I can veto," he acknowledged, "but I can't put anything back in" to the state's two year spending plan.

That hits home in several ways.

  • Assembly Republicans eliminated the UWS academic building proposal, which already had been approved by the state's bipartisan building commission and the UW Board of Regents. It's not political pork. Nonetheless, GOP representatives chopped it with an ax.
  • UW spending cuts would reduce the UWS budget by $2.5 million, Doyle said.
  • More than $1 million in shared revenue for Superior would be cut.

If the conference committee doesn't reverse these decisions, Doyle can't reverse them by veto without killing the entire biennial budget, possible bringing state services to a halt.
Doyle also mentioned some flaws that haven't received much press.

  • Even though the GOP proposed to offer veterans free university tuition, their budget provides no funding for the program. If the plan advances, the money would have to be pulled from existing university programs.
  • Much-needed increases in college financial aid were eliminated.
  • If adopted, the GOP budget offers a zero balance at the conclusion of two years. No money is saved for the state's "rainy day fund." Last time the country suffered a significant economic downturn, Wisconsin was in the same situation, trying to weather the storm with nothing in the bank. The fund must be rebuilt.

Holding a majority of Assembly seats, Republicans have power to enforce some of their priorities. It would be nice if they would visit localities like Superior to explain their logic in making such radical cuts.
The door is open. We're all ears.

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