Wisconsin State Budget Includes Millions in Earmarks

Patrick Marley & Stacy Forster:

Facing a record $6.6 billion deficit, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on Friday passed a budget crafted late at night and largely behind closed doors that included tax increases, trims in state aid and millions of dollars in pork-barrel projects in Democratic districts.
Working overnight Thursday until 5:30 a.m. Friday, lawmakers included provisions that would impose a tax on oil companies, increase the cigarette tax, release prison inmates early and reduce funding for local governments and school districts.
The committee wrapped up its work after a 12-hour session with a 12-4, party-line vote to close the shortfall over two years.
Democrats, who control both houses of the Legislature, are expected to pass the package of tax and fee increases and spending cuts, with few changes. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle praised the deal, suggesting he would use his vast veto powers sparingly.
The Assembly will take up the budget as early as June 9; it will then go to the Senate and governor, who plans to sign it before the July 1 start of the new budget year.