Walker visits La Crosse, talks about budget and collective bargaining reform

By: Martha Boehm Email
By: Martha Boehm Email

LA CROSSE, WI (WEAU)--Governor Scott Walker was in La Crosse today to talk about the state budget and last night’s senate vote on collective bargaining reform.

This morning, hundreds of people lined the streets outside of the La Crosse County Courthouse to voice their anger and frustration over last night’s vote. A special conference committee split collective bargaining off from the parts of the legislation. The remaining Republican senators then approved the bill 18-1.

"As Republicans, they’re showing who they really are and that’s just a group of people who are hell-bent on taking down the unions,”said La Crosse County Democratic Party Chairman Andrew Londre.

Governor Walker says, "It’s about passing a measure that meets the constitutional requirement in terms of not having appropriation in there that deals with the budgetary requirement, but what we do pass does have a fiscal impact.”

Walker says for the rest of this fiscal year, collective bargaining reform will save the state $30 million. He says over the next two years, it will provide more than $300 million in savings.

“At some point, we have to realize that (Democratic) Senator (Mark) Miller is not interested in coming back," Governor Walker said. "And he made it abundantly clear in his letter that he thought communications were over as of yesterday, so we had to find an alternative approach to move this process forward.”

Walker says passing the measure had to be done to help balance the state and local budgets without massive layoffs and property tax increases.

Some Republican supporters we talked to say they’re not proud of the way the bill passed, but they say it’s important to move Wisconsin forward. At the same time, members of the La Crosse County Democratic Party say they’re working to recall Republican Senator Dan Kapanke.

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