State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
The non-partisan Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance (WISTAX) has a report that attempts to explain the long delay in Wisconsin’s budget process. WISTAX says there are two obvious reasons for the stalemate:
“Two of these factors were prominent in three prior budget delays—one in 1971 and two in the 1990s. First, major disagreement over creation of a university system held up the first of the three budgets. Second, in all three cases, partisan control of the legislature was split, making compromise between the two houses difficult. Wisconsin is currently one of only 12 states with divided control.
This year, both issue differences and party politics are in play. The combination makes the 2007 budget unusually difficult to pass. Waged to an unusual degree on national rather than state issues, the 2006 election led state Republicans to lose three seats and control in the upper house and eight seats in the lower house. With U.S. politics largely unchanged from two years ago, Democrats sense an opportunity to expand their senate majority and to capture the assembly. Republicans, on the other hand, fear being shut out of state government leadership for the first time in a generation.
If one number best summarizes the current deadlock, then, it is 2-0-0-8. The political stakes are unusually high, and both major parties are aggressively positioning themselves for the next election. For Democrats, health care is both the banner under which they hope to run and the weapon they plan to use against their GOP opponents. For Republicans, tax hikes, mainly to fund expanded health care, are the issue they hope to use against Democrats. In a top-10 taxed state, they say Wisconsin taxpayers cannot bear proposed tax hikes. Whether the budget contains the tax/fee increases recommended by the governor ($1.75 billion, b) or by senate Democrats ($9.5b), the GOP views them as excessive.”
WISTAX also says the public and the pres are partially to blame for the budget impasse. You can read the entire WISTAX report here.