Budget goes to Doyle – Veto time

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Time to pull out the gubernatorial sharpie – it’s veto time. By “veto” I am of course referring to Wisconsin’s new and improved version, which allows governors to veto certain spending provisions in a bill while approving the rest of the bill. “New and improved” in the sense that the governor can no longer re-write entire bills by vetoing single words or even single letters, as they have in the past. Until voters struck down the “Vanna White Veto”, Gov. Tommy Thompson used to re-write entire bills by vetoing individual letters and making new words out of what was left over – “republican” government. Doyle didn’t have the chance to veto letters, but he certainly went ahead with words. But then the pesky voters changed the constitution again:

With the approval of the referendum, Doyle and future Wisconsin governors will no longer be able to create new sentences by crossing out words or numbers from two or more existing clauses.

But Doyle is still the man with the pen.

Even after the decision to limit the “Frankenstein veto” governors will still have the ability to remove single digits to create new figures or delete whole clauses from paragraphs to change their meaning.

It’s hard to predict what Doyle will go after in the budget. He was unsatisfied with the capital gains tax hike, but he has to recognize that it was necessary after the oil tax fell through. Hence, it will be hard for him to fiddle with the numbers on that. His proposals on agency cuts and furloughs for state employees pretty much went according to plan – there may be some minor changes, including earmarks, that he’ll try to eliminate. Doyle stayed out of the conflict over extra cuts that legislature Democrats proposed for the Department of Justice, so it would be interesting to see if he restores any of them with some last minute edits – I certainly wouldn’t count on it. He’s unpopular enough already – the last thing he wants to do is give J.B. Van Hollen another round of free media.

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