Democrats may be ready to jettison their demands for a proposed hospital tax, one of the key sticking points over a deal to fix the broken state budget, leaders said.
A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, D-Weston, one of the strongest supporters of the proposed tax, said Friday that it would be difficult to win over Assembly Republicans who adamantly oppose it.
"I don 't think they 're going to be able to go there, " Carrie Lynch said of GOP lawmakers. "We 're working to keep (the hospital tax) included but at the end of the day, I don 't think we can hold up the entire budget process for it either. "
The $416 million hospital tax, favored by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle and Senate Democrats, lies at the heart of how to resolve a projected $527 million state budget shortfall. Decker has been critical of a decision by his predecessor, Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, to agree to drop the tax in order to reach an agreement with Republican lawmakers on the long-delayed state budget that was finally signed in October.
Decker's not finding things so easy at the top of the greasy pole. And his friend Chuck Chvala made it look so easy.