MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- For the first time in a generation Democrats control the Wisconsin Legislature and the governor's office, but their ability to set the state's agenda will be hamstrung by a $5.4 billion budget shortfall.
The Legislature begins its 2009 session next week. The economy will dominate.
The state's unemployment rate is going up. Wisconsin institutions, like the Janesville General Motors plant and the NewPage paper plant in Kimberly, are shutting down. State pension holders may see a drop in benefits and those nearing retirement are watching their investments plummet.
Some of the state's 60,000 workers may get laid off or face wage cuts to solve the budget problem.
There's no doubt that the Statehouse will be all about the budget and trying to make it balance. And the problem will be for Democrats to solve. For the first time since 1986, there is a Democratic governor along with a Democratic majority in the Assembly and Senate.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)