Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. On Dec. 5, the 20-year legislative veteran asked newsman Mike Gousha, "Can we afford the benefits and salaries that we pay for our state employees? ...We are deep in debt. Our spending is over the top. And we are proportionally in as much trouble as the state of California, who we hear about all the time in the national news."
Rep. Robin Vos (R-Racine), co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee. Vos is vocal in his support of turning Wisconsin into a right-to-work state, where any worker can opt out of paying union dues. In a Dec. 18 op-ed piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Vos wrote that this could bring "great economic growth" to the state: "Put bluntly, the unions now represent coercion of the taxpayer and threaten our ability to get Wisconsin's economy back on track."
Rep. Mark Gottlieb (R-Port Washington), Assembly vice chair. Gottlieb is the chief spokesman for the Wisconsin First constitutional amendment, which would require the state to deposit .5% of all taxes collected into a separate "rainy day" fund and place limits on the Legislature's ability to spend that money even when tax revenues exceed projections.
Rep. Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), chair of the Colleges and Universities Committee. Nass, a longtime critic of the UW-Madison in particular and the UW System in general, has already declared his intent to limit any tuition increases to 4% in the next two-year budget and to hold the line on spending.
Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), chair of the Senate's Health Committee. Vukmir, a nurse, says she "will continue to fight against any plan that creates a government-run health care plan in Wisconsin."
Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), chair of the Education Committee. Olsen, who spent eight years in the Assembly and is entering his seventh year in the Senate, coolly greeted state School Superintendent Tony Evers' plan to alter how schools are funded and guarantee a minimum level of state support for each student, saying the proposal would cost $420 million: "We have to be realistic about what we can really afford."