Wis. gov. proposes deep cuts for schools
MADISON, Wis (AP) – After focusing for weeks on his proposal to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights, Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday presented his full budget proposal – a plan that cuts $1.5 billion in aid to public schools and government but avoids any tax or fee increases, furloughs or layoffs.
Walker said the cuts could be paid for in large part by forcing government employees to pay more for their pension and health care benefits. But his proposal to do that – and to eliminate most collective bargaining – remains in limbo after Senate Democrats fled the state to prevent a vote.
“This is a reform budget,” Walker said in prepared remarks. “It is about getting Wisconsin working again … we need a balanced budget that works.”
Walker’s proposals have stirred a national debate over public-sector unions and drawn tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol for three weeks.
The governor released his two-year budget in part to support his argument that public worker concessions are essential to confront a projected $3.6 billion shortfall.