Editorial: We need our leaders to work on common goals
The state Legislature is back in session, with a big job to do: Balance the budget and eliminate a multibillion-dollar projected deficit. So far, the deficit is projected to be $5.4 billion at the end of the next two-year budget cycle, which begi...
The state Legislature is back in session, with a big job to do: Balance the budget and eliminate a multibillion-dollar projected deficit.
So far, the deficit is projected to be $5.4 billion at the end of the next two-year budget cycle, which begins July 1.
But that might be misleading, because it just reflects the money that state departments have asked for. Obviously, when Gov. Jim Doyle makes public his budget proposal, it will likely make considerable cuts to what the agencies want.
Still, it's going to be a big deficit -- and will require legislators from both parties to work together and come up with solutions.
In the Assembly, Speaker Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville, echoed comments he had made earlier, and said he wants to work with Republicans on budget and job-related issues.
"It doesn't matter if you're Democrat or Republican," he said. "Times are tough. We're going to work together."
That's the right attitude.
Assembly Republican leader Jeff Fitzgerald of Horicon said Republican leaders would like to be part of the discussion.
That's an improvement over comments he made last week, when he said of the deficit, "I don't have to solve that problem. Obviously, that's the Democrats' problem."
That earlier comment was a good example of what's wrong with government. We elect legislators to be problem solvers, not to sit on the sidelines and criticize the other party.
Fitzgerald and the Democrats will likely disagree about whether spending cuts alone can solve the deficit problem. But there will be partisan differences. The key question is how well both sides will rise above those differences.
What we need are problem solvers, not bomb throwers. Keep a close watch on how individual legislators rise to the challenge (or not).
Copyright © 2009, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.
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