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And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
The political firestorm in Wisconsin over proposed changes to bargaining rights and benefits for government workers.
Intensified this weekend here's the lightest an estimated 70000.
Demonstrators gathered at the State Capitol Saturday.
Most of them opposed to the governor's budget plan but also some supporters.
Public employees -- offered to pay more for pension and health benefits if they can keep their collective bargaining rights.
And senate Democrats remain in hiding out of sight out of state.
So no vote can be taken.
Joining us now the man pushing the changes governor Scott Walker who comes to us from Madison Wisconsin and governor welcome to FOX News Sunday.
-- -- -- -- -- Those fourteen Democrats who fled Wisconsin.
To avoid to block a vote in the state senate say they'll come back yes.
You'll sit down with a -- work out a compromise and the deal would be.
That -- unions agree.
On the money edges but they keep their collective bargaining rights governor are you willing to do that.
Well no first off.
-- senate Democrats should realize and if you want to participate in democracy.
You gotta be in the arena in the arena is right here in Madison Wisconsin it's not hiding out in Rockford Illinois or Chicago or anywhere else out there.
Democracy means you show up and participate.
It and they failed to do that that they're walking out of their job they're doing which contrast to the the many many thousands almost 300000 state local workers across Wisconsin.
Who despite those protesters most of them showed up and did their job what they're paid to do.
For us this is about balancing the budget we've got a three point six billion dollar budget deficit we're broke.
Just like nearly every other state across the country were broke its about time some somebody stood up and told the truth and the only way for us to balance the budget -- -- the state level.
But the local level is -- make sure we give those local governments the tools they need to balance the budget that's what were proposed.
Yet but but -- -- understand.
If it's a money issue and balancing the budget and they're willing to concede.
On the money issues why -- not enough why do you also have to take back some of their collective bargaining rights.
And they aren't because in the end they can say that but that's really -- airing these same groups back in December after the election before I was sworn -- tried to ram through literally enough.
Lame duck session.
Employee contracts that -- lock things in before I got there so they're not really interest in a bit more critically.
I was -- county executive elected official in Milwaukee -- account it's never elect a Republican before.
I was there for three three different elections because we tried to tackle these very same issues and what stood in the way time and time again.
Was collective bargaining we've got over -- thousand municipalities 424.
School districts about 72 counties in the state.
All of which need to have the power to be able to offset what's gonna happen -- -- -- -- next week just like new York and California rails has been doing.
That's cutting billions of -- and local governments the differences.
-- like those other states on wanna give those local governments the tools they need to balance the budget now and in the future they can't do that with the current collective bargaining.
What would you think of the legislature.
Voting that the senate Democrats are in contempt of the legislature in -- for what they're doing as a crime.
Well on the latter part -- my hope is that cooler minds -- prevail in by sometime earlier this coming week.
They'll show up for the job I've said all want the best way to motivate -- a comeback is for constituents in their districts.
But regardless of how they feel about the budget repair bill to tell the senators to show up about what did you I don't.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- Well we're gonna look at every option out there but I'm an optimist -- realistic about our challenges but optimistic about solutions and I believe.
We've got a path allows us to have everybody come back to vote there's going to be plenty of time they had the debate they can make their case they can make their argument.
But democracy is not about hiding out -- other state it's about showing up here in the capital.
And making the case there and and for us.
We're willing to take this is -- it takes because in the end.
We're doing the right thing we're doing the right thing we're Wisconsin we're leading the way as we did in the past to Wisconsin on reform really -- -- way again when it comes to budgetary reform.
-- -- we have to do this.
-- again we've had for decades we've had a leaders Republicans and Democrats alike who pushed up the problems well there's no place to push them off to.
Two years ago my predecessor of the many of the same majority Democrats -- at that time we're now hiding out.
Push through a budget that took two billion dollars.
Of one time federal stimulus money use it to balance the budget for -- -- deficits they didn't make the tough decisions that we're gonna make them now because we have to.
To get the State's economy going again and -- get a budget analysts -- President Obama stepped into this controversy this week let's look at what he sat.
Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin.
You're just making it harder for public employees that are collectively bargain generally.
Seems like more an assault on unions.
Governor you've sad that the president should focus on balancing his own budget but beyond that do you think that his stepping into a state -- collective bargaining issue.
Is inappropriate and what do you think of his political arm organizing for America taking the role in mobilize and some of the opposition.
Well I I think you're right the president alternately should stay focused on fixing the federal budget because they've got a huge deficit.
And believe me they get their hands full they're far from -- accomplished.
In Washington but the larger context you know that the the thousands of protesters who were here over this past week have every right to be heard at least those Wisconsin and increasingly.
As you just alluded to there -- more and more coming in from other states across the country but for those who are here for Wisconsin they have every right to be hurt.
But I pointed out there are over 300000 state local workers who weren't here we're doing their job doing what they're paid to we appreciate that my hat's off to them.
But most importantly there are five and a half million people of this state.
Taxpayers who by and large.
Are sacrificing in their own jobs the private sector.
Paying much more than the five point 8% for pension of the twelve point 6% for health care I'm asking for -- many cases two or three times that amount.
They've -- tough sacrifices to balance the budgets in their communities in their homes and their businesses I think it is realistic that we made -- to make sure that as loud as the voices are in the capital.
We don't let them over power the voices of the taxpayers I was elected to represent an elected get the job that which is bouncing this.
Thought well let's talk about what you say this is not about the unions this is about balancing the budget but your opposition says this is about union.
Busting so let's take a look at what is in Europe playing out.
Beyond making public workers' pay more for benefits.
Here's what your plan would do it would allow unions to negotiate only over wages not benefits or work -- The state would no longer collecting union dues.
And unions would have to win an election every year to keep -- presenting workers.
Isn't that union boss yet.
No absolutely not our belief is if we're gonna ask more for health care and more -- -- -- countries which by the way.
Of your realistic about my my brother's a typical middle class families are catering manager.
For a hotel here was scouts and his wife works for years they get too beautiful girls.
A typical Wisconsin middle class family.
He told me last week and he reminded me he said Scott yeah I'm paying almost 800 dollars a year.
Are blocked excuse me to pay for my health care and -- set aside a little bit I put in terms of my 401K he blob like most every other -- in the state would love to have the deal were putting on the table.
For our state local government -- governor you have.
I want to talk about -- that those specific things about collective bargaining and saying that unions have to hold elections.
Every year and that's what your critics say is union busting monopoly argument about the about -- money issue.
But the two go hand in hand if we're gonna ask our state local workers who were doing a great job the -- a little bit more to sacrifice to help the balance this budget.
We should also get on the flexibility saying that for those members for those workers who don't want to be a part of that you didn't you don't want that deduction.
Each month out of the paycheck they should be able to get that 56 or some cases a thousand dollars back.
That they can apply for the health care and their pension contribution for us if you wanna have democracy if you -- -- have the American way which is allow people have a choice.
That's exactly what we're allowing your people see the -- -- -- it's you know worth.
They could continue to vote to certify that union.
And they can continue to have voluntarily have those you -- used.
That write the check out give it to that you didn't make their case but they should be forced to be a part of this if that's not what they wanted to do it that this really gets it and it -- one one of the other quick thing -- this.
The other thing that's important to remember they talk about worker rights.
Wisconsin and several generations before collective bargaining was legal here in the state -- Wisconsin.
We passed at the turn of the last entry the strongest collect our strongest civil service protections in the country.
There's no state that has a better civil service system in terms of protections that does not change in this worker rights will be maintained even after our bill passed this.
-- to a bigger question and that is whether or not you think there's something structural here that that that the way the system has developed over the years.
And public employee unions have the upper hand when it comes a negotiation with state -- local governments do you think.
That the public worker unions have gotten too powerful.
Absolutely -- there's no doubt about.
That's it for eight years I was a local official a county official I saw firsthand.
For me at the county level for every school district for every city county town -- town board out there.
And they been asking for this that this this didn't just come up after Republicans took the majority's.
-- last November for decades local government officials have been asking for these sorts -- controls.
So they could balance the -- -- the counter is and I solace at the local level what they would try to forces to do is to say go ahead -- 5600 people up we don't care you can't touch your benefits.
In this case if we don't do it was -- It's five to 6000 state government workers you have to be laid off it's another five to 6000 local government workers.
In a state that has a seven and a half percent unemployment rates which thank god is better than the national level but still too high to be acceptable Wisconsin I can't get anybody -- up.
I don't want to single person laid off in the public.
Nor in the private sector and that's why this is a much better alternative losing jobs at.
Governor the same kind of thing the idea.
Of trying did that make unions give up some of their collective bargaining rights.
Is going on in Ohio and Indiana and Tennessee and a bunch of other states.
Some people are -- saying that what's going on in your state -- what you're involved in right now is a watershed this is a Ronald Reagan in the air controllers moment.
Is it -- test case for the power.
Of the government -- vs the power of the public employee unions.
Why do think it has large ramifications and I'm proud of the fact that Wisconsin who led the way when it came the -- -- reform and education reform under my friend Tommy Thompson and -- Potentially could be leading the way when it comes to budgetary and fiscal reform of this country.
But this is not something new to -- I've spent eight years before this as -- county executive trying to do exactly the same thing I talked about in the campaign I talked about the transition.
I've talked about it since I took office.
And if we're gonna be in this together and our three point six billion dollar budget deficit.
He's gonna take a whole lot more than just -- Contributions when it comes to pension and health care but it's got to be a piece of the puzzle because as I saw.
At the local level it's like a virus that eats up more and more the budget if you don't get under control this is about -- not only our next budget.
But the budgets to 46 years into the future.
And I think right now for -- and people expect us to make tough decisions to make sure we don't pass the buck -- to our kids and grandkids and that's exactly what we're doing here was -- Governor we have less than thirty seconds left before we one on you were telling me that you've been talking to some of the other governors like Jon k's sake and in Ohio what -- -- -- -- -- hang in there.
Was absolutely you know -- it's him -- Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels -- Tim Pawlenty a lot of other folks around the country.
They're saying hang in there you're doing the right they get amazingly I got it one day 191000.
Emails -- Friday.
The over one majority saying stay the course you do in the right thing.
And it's always good when you're doing things for the right reason that's what we're doing here was -- Governor Walker thank you so much for joining us today we very much appreciate it we'll stay on top of the story.
Thank you -- Up.
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