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Schultz says he'll join in furloughs
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MADISON - Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, said Friday he would join other state lawmakers in taking 16 days off without pay over the next two years.

The state Assembly and Senate have voted to require legislative aides to take furlough days, just as state employees have been ordered by Gov. Jim Doyle. The state constitution does not allow elected lawmakers to be required to take unpaid days off, but many have said they will join their aides and fellow state employees in a show of solidarity amid difficult budgetary times.

Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon, said he and his staffer, Luke Bacher, already had planned on furloughs before the Assembly approved them for aides Thursday. Doyle also has said he'll take the days off.

"Shared sacrifice is the approach that will minimize the impact," Schultz said. "I appreciate the governor's willingness to forgo 16 days of pay, and I'll be doing the same."

Schultz on Friday said the governor should reconsider his budget plan. He said Doyle should resubmit a budget that freezes all state spending at current levels to save $4.5 billion.

"This is an unprecedented time," Schultz said. "The governor revealed his initial plan in February, but since then the budget deficit has grown and we've lost a significant number of jobs. By calling off his spending increase the governor can reset the debate."

Schultz said freezing current state spending in all areas would allow a "constructive debate about where to scale back and how to most responsibly use the $3.6 billion in stimulus funds" the state has received.