• WisPolitics

Friday, June 12, 2009

 6:18 PM 

Hansen not happy with some Assembly changes

State Sen. Dave Hansen, a member of the Joint Finance Committee, said he was disappointed by some of the changes the Assembly Dems have made to the budget he helped craft.

But he said he also understands why they did it.

"We're concerned, but they've got to get to 50 votes," said Hansen, D-Green Bay. "Conversely, we've got to get to 17."

Hansen said Senate Dems will likely meet Monday to review what the Assembly did if the budget makes it out of the chamber this weekend.

He said the big changes his counterparts in the Assembly made to the budget include taking out the joint and several provisions -- which he said were "all about the victims " -- and the alterations to the oil franchise fee.

He had some concerns about rules the Assembly Dem caucus approved to change how utility rates change when fuel prices fluctuate and other changes.

His biggest reservation was an amendment to remove a JFC provision that prohibits DOT from getting involved in the "construction, reconstruction, or rehabilitation of a bridge that crosses a river forming a boundary of the state, if the contract for the project is awarded using a design-build procurement process."

Hansen said amendment was done for Rep. Ann Hraychuck of Balsam Lake and pertains to the reconstruction of a bridge over the Mississippi River. He said deleting the provision means Minnesota workers will end up doing the work even though Wisconsin would pick up a significant chunk of its costs.

"Just because we're Democrats doesn't mean we're not independent thinkers," Hansen said.

Still, Hansen said his biggest diappointment was Republicans, who he said failed to offer up any specifics on cuts to balance the budget without raising any taxes. he also said their complaints that the state is raising overall spending in a deficit suggests they wouldn't accept the federal stimulus money that makes up all of that increase with the JFC budget propsing a 3.2 percent cut in GPR spending.

"How deep would their cuts be? What would schools look like if they were in charge?" Hansen said.

"I think they failed miserably."

Listen to the interview.

-- By JR Ross


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