Patience running thin among lawmakers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Patience running thin among lawmakers


MADISON (WKOW) -- Tempers flare and frustration rises as lawmakers continue to tackle the budget at the Capitol. An expected "quick" vote during Thursday morning's Joint Finance committee turned into a heated exchange of words.

The JFC unanimously passed a budget adjustment bill Thursday morning, but getting to the end vote was far from civil. The bill up for vote, was a proposal to pay off Wisconsin's debt using a portion of the additional $636 million in expected revenue over the next two years.

Rep. Robin Vos, R-Burlington, says, "It's pretty simple, there's nothing in here that's controversial."

The committee, which met ahead of time to discuss the bill unanimously passed it 16-0, but before the vote, there were fireworks and Vos' optimism in the beginning quickly turned into frustration. Rep. Robin Vos says, "If this cannot be bi-partisan, then I do not know what can be and I have got to tell you, my patience is running thin."

Democrats criticized Republicans motive behind this budget adjustment bill. Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Madsion, says, "The items could be dealt with in the budget and why they aren't is what makes it suspect and clearly there must be a political strategy."

Republicans argued their only goal with the bill is to pay the states bills, bills that Governor Doyle and Democrats put off.

Rep. Vos says, "For once we are going top pay our bill when they're due, and I know for some people on the outer circle that's a radical concept, to pay our bill when they're actually due."

Vos said his frustration stemmed from efforts on the Republican side to meet early, bring forward a positive bill and show the two sides could work together, but blames Democrats for not being able to do that.

Rep. Robin Vos says, "There are some people who are incapable of making that happen and I think it's a travesty."

Democrats shared in the co-chairs frustration and shot back. Rep. Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, says, "Congeniality is clearly not what we're striving for as we meet everyday."

Both sides agreeing the civility that once was is long gone. Rep. Grigsby says, "Everyone in the world knows what happened to the civility of this body, the respect among colleagues, people who used to speak in the hallways don't even speak anymore."

This bill sets a timetable, to pay off the patients compensation fund.

$235 million will be transferred into that fund repaying money the supreme court said was illegally raided in 2007.

Vos says it moves Wisconsin in the right direction using $23 million of federal money to ensure Medicaid benefits are not deferred.

It also puts $30 million in savings back into the budget. Vos says that's the savings Republicans were hoping to get from the collective bargaining bill.

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