Sunday, October 21, 2007

Demand A Veto Free Signing

Late Friday, Wisconsin announces a budget compromise and many people have posted thoughts on the agreement including Governor Doyle, and political bloggers Owen and Steve. Wisconsin is operating under the prior budget but the announcement means an updated tax and spend plan will go into effect, if the deal passes a vote scheduled for Tuesday. Regardless of the details in the compromise, Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch should not bring this up for a vote before obtaining a ZERO VETO AGREEMENT from the Governor.

In November 1930 Wisconsin enacts a partial veto by constitutional amendment and it is the most powerful veto of given to any United States Governor. It is a tool that can be used for slight administrative alterations or for wholesale rewrites of legislative intent. In the 2005 budget process, Doyle uses the power to completely alter the intention of the budget passed by the legislature. This is a track record which absolutely should not be ignored.

WisPolitics Budget Blog July 2005: Doyle, up for re-election next November, used 139 vetoes and a 33-page veto message to tell potential voters that his version of the two-year spending plan is the more responsible way to go. … “The end result is a budget that much more closely resembles the one I submitted in February than the one passed in the dead of the night by the Legislature.”

This willingness to use the veto to put personal politics in place of legislative text is a serious concern. Because of this history it is foolish to bring this compromise budget to a vote Tuesday without a signed ZERO VETO AGREEMENT with the Governor. If the Republicans pass this budget without a binding agreement insuring the budget gets signed “AS IS”, then they deserve the blame when Doyle alters the compromise after the fact.

The Republicans can’t make Doyle do anything, but they can force him to take public positions with political implications. They need to keep playing the political game till the last possible moment. By making the demand for a veto free signing they force the Governor into one of three options.

1. Agree and he voluntarily surrenders his veto weapon for the good of the state.
2. Agree then renege thus providing another example of his corruption.
3. Refuse and insist on a veto overide process making him the budget obstructionist.

If this is the best deal the Republicans can reach, then let’s make sure this is the best deal we get. Mike Huebsch and Reince Priebus need to demand a veto free signing from Jim Doyle. It does not take political courage to request a reply and one thing is certain, if you don't ASK you don't GET.