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Thursday, February 18, 2016

 3:59 PM 

Digging into some numbers

The debate over a bill that would set rules for state agency budget requests led to a back and forth between Majority Leader Jim Steineke and Dem Gordon Hintz.

Under the bill, state agencies would have to include in their biennial budget requests a plan that would keep their operations spending at current levels as well as one to impose a 5 percent cut. The original bill applied to agencies’ overall budgets, but the legislation was amended to apply to operations, which excludes aids to local governments, individuals and organizations. The substitute amendment also would exclude expenditures from federal revenues and for debt service.

Hintz, D-Oshkosh, criticized the bill as a "cute proposal" that isn't a solution, and he hit Republicans over budget cuts to the UW System.

"The real issue of fiscal responsibility comes from the decisions we make in an ongoing basis," Hintz said.

Steineke, R-Kaukauna, jumped at that statement, asking Hintz if he knows how much the state would have spent if every Dem pulling motion had passed.

Hintz countered that is "junk math" because it takes the motions in aggregate. Dems, he said, try a new motion when the previous one fails.

"But if you rattle that off, it's one of the lamer things we've heard on the floor," Hintz said.

The number, Steineke said, is nearly $2.5 billion.

"When you're complaining about fiscal responsibility," Steineke said, "maybe take a look in the mirror."


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