MacIver News Service | November 29, 2010 Updated 8:10am[Madison, Wisc…] Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker has sent a letter to legislative leaders requesting they hold off on approving new state employee contracts until his Administration has time to evaluate their impact on the state budget.
Walker (R), sent a letter Monday morning to the incoming and outgoing leaders of the State Assembly and State Senate.
“In light of the State of Wisconsin’s current fiscal year $150 million budget shortfall and impending $3.3 billion structural deficit, returning and newly elected officials are going to need maximum flexibility to craft and work through our current and next state budget,” Walker wrote in the letter to current Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Weston) and his replacement, current Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau). Current Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville) and incoming Speaker, current Assembly Leader Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horion) also received the letter from the Governor-elect.
Not only did Democrats lose the majorities in both houses of the legislature earlier this month, Decker and Sheridan lost their individual re-election bids and will not serve in the new legislature, which convenes January 3, 2011.
“Bringing the Legislature in to an extraordinary or special session with the sole purpose of finalizing public employee union contracts prior to my inauguration will likely lead to a need for more aggressive spending cuts,” Walker warned. “Please delay actions on these contracts so we can fully evaluate their effect on our next state budget.”
Special and extraordinary sessions are similar in that they are called solely to consider one or more specified topics or pieces of legislation. A special session is called by the governor and an extraordinary session is initiated by the legislature.
Earlier this month outgoing Democratic Governor Jim Doyle’s Department of Administration announced that the state faces a $2.2 billion deficit through mid-2013. Walker’s transition team has repeatedly asserted that the deficit is more than $3 billion.