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Our View: Keep policy matters out of state budget
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State Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, has a new blog on his Web site entitled "Budget Blog" . The title may not be particularly creative, but the most recent post is an interesting topic.

Schultz makes a valid point that the Democratic-controlled Legislature's budget proposal will include a number of provisions that are non-fiscal policy items and not budgetary matters. Schultz contends those matters should not be included in a budget, and should be considered separately on their own merit just like any other bill.

He's right.

His site includes a link to an assessment by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau that there are 80 non-fiscal policy items included in the governor's budget proposal. They include the provision we criticized a few weeks ago that would increase insurance coverage limits unnecessarily for Wisconsin drivers.

Four Wisconsin newspapers (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, LaCrosse Tribune, Green Bay Press Gazette, Sheboygan Press) have recently opined against another policy proposal in the budget. This one would allow those most at fault to sue those least at fault, and allow a party only 1 percent at fault to be forced to pay 100 percent of the award.

Whether this policy has merit is debatable. Being tucked into a budget, the proposal receive virtually no debate in the Legislature. That's wrong.

Democrats and Gov. Jim Doyle should pull these kinds of proposals out of the budget, and allow them to receive the public discussion they deserve. Unfortunately, Democratic leaders seem unwilling to do so.