Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, said Republicans will hold the line against the tax hikes and increased spending that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers proposed in his first budget.

“I was really hoping it would be a ‘people’s budget’ and continue the reforms that we put on the table. But this is a payback budget to the special interests that put him in office, in my opinion,” Darling, the Senate co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, said in an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront.” The program is produced in partnership with

“I think the level of spending is outrageous, and I think the level of intimidation for a lot of our reforms is really unnecessary,” she said.

Darling said Republicans “dug out of a hole” and grew the economy in Wisconsin since 2009, when Dems controlled the guv’s office and both houses of the Legislature.

“If we have this level of spending and taxation, we’re going to go back to 2009 and I’m really afraid of that,” Darling said.

“UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen asked Darling if there was anything in the budget that she liked.

Darling said she liked some of the governor’s corrections reform plans, but she didn’t like that the Lincoln Hills prison would stay open longer. She also said she thought Evers had “some good ideas about education” but “the level (of spending) he’s putting in is way over the top of what we have to spend.”

Also on the program, Sen. LaTonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, said Democrats recognize Lincoln Hills has to stay open until alternative youth corrections centers are ready.

“We want to make sure that we get this right. We’ve seen from Lincoln Hills how juvenile justice can be done wrong. And we want to make sure that when we make these investments, they’re lasting investments, and that we’re doing it the right way,” Johnson said.

Pedersen asked Johnson about criticism from Republicans that the Evers budget is an extreme, far-left budget.

“I don’t see it as a far-left budget,” Johnson said, adding that Evers “has done an excellent job laying out how this would be paid for.”

“The last administration focused more on business, and this administration focuses more on people,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Democrats will be looking for compromise in the budget process.

“I believe that was a piece that was missing before when Republicans controlled everything, there was no need to compromise. But now, with Gov. Evers at the helm, it forces us all to compromise and to try to just put partisanship aside,” Johnson said.

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