DEVELOPING: Major deficit reduction plan passes Finance Committee


The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee just approved an omnibus provision that seeks to address the additional $1.6 billion shortfall (in addition to the $5 billion deficit established last year) that’s surfaced in the first half of 2009 as the recession presses on and state revenues are depleted. The motion passed on a 12-4 party line vote in committee. That reminds me, I’ve really got to figure out how party distribution works on joint committees – how can the numbers be that lopsided? In Assembly and Senate committees the ruling party usually has a one or two seat advantage. If any of you leg geeks out there knows, please enlighten me.

According to the WisPolitics Budget Blog, the GOP did not hesitate to put on a show. Rep. Robin Vos attempted a filibuster by reading the names of attorneys out of the yellowpages, insisting that attorneys would be the “biggest beneficiaries” of the budget. When that was struck down by the chair he then proposed reading the entire bill. Rep. Mark Pocan told him to chill.

I’ve only had a chance to skim the legislation but from the looks of it the most serious cuts come in education and state wages. The two percent wage cut discussed earlier is going to cut nearly $73 million from the budget, and Doyle’s plan to require employees to take eight days of unpaid furlough is going to save the state $96 million. Note, UW faculty and staff is included in this requirement.

Across the board cuts in state agencies will bring in another $78 million.

Health care is one of the few areas that will be seeing spending increases.

The dozens of pages detail hundreds of spending cuts.

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