Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) gave a speech at the state Capitol Tuesday to unveil his budget for the next two years, even as the debate over his budget repair bill still rages.
“The biennial budget I introduce today is built on the savings supplied by our budget repair bill,” Walker said.
Walker’s budget would cut spending by 6.7%, or $4.2 billion. In his address, Walker said that the cuts would hit harder if the 14 Senate Democrats who have left the state to avoid a vote on the budget repair bill do not return.
“As we decrease spending, we also increase flexibility so local government and state government have the tools to deal with reduced revenue,” Walker said.”It’s true we are reducing aid to local government by just over one and a quarter billion dollars, but we are providing almost $1.5 billion in savings through our budget repair bill. If the 14 Senate democrats do not come home, their local communities will be forced to manage these reductions in aid without the benefit of the tools provided in the repair bill. On the other hand, if the Senate democrats do come home, local units of government overall will actually see a net increase in revenue plus savings of more than $150 million.”
Walker issued a similar warning to the Democrats about cuts to education.
“Again, this is why it is so vitally important for the Senate democrats to come back and do their jobs,” he said. “If they do not, our schools face massive layoffs of teachers. However, if they do come back, overall savings for schools across the state will outweigh reductions, ultimately allowing schools to put more money in the classroom.”
Read the rest of Walker’s remarks here.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com