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Democrats Would Like A Say In State Budget Deliberations


After years of Republican majorities in the Wisconsin legislature setting the agenda, a Northwoods Democrat says she is seeing signs of more bipartisanship, but some hard-nosed policy decisions could change things.

State Senator Janet Bewley of Ashland county says more Republicans have been signing onto bills authored by Democrats, as they hope it will avoid Democratic Governor Tony Evers veto pen. But Bewley says Republicans continue to set the fiscal agenda as the budget is being built right now by the Joint Committee on Finance...

"...It is a Republican-controlled committee. It is the working group that will fashion the budget. Although Gov. Evers has the privilege to present the budget, the Joint Finance Committee can either work from it or not. They've already stripped out 131 items from it..."

Bewley says the committee is working from what is called 'base', or the last biennial budget signed into law by then-Governor Scott Walker. Bewley says her hope is both parties can help build the budget...

"...Bipartisanship would create a budget the Governor would be willing to examine and perhaps line-item veto. But if the Republicans continue to work in kind of lock-step agenda and have no bipartisanship in designing it, we're going to see the Governor veto it..."

Similar complaints were registered by Republicans in years when Democrats dominated the Joint Finance Committee.

Bewley's district includes portions of Vilas, Iron and Price counties.

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