Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has laid down an ultimatum to the 14 state Senate Democrats who’ve gone AWOL to stop Walker’s union-busting budget from going forward: come home, vote on a budget or I’ll start laying off state workers. Like, next week.
From an interview with WISC-TV in Madison on Tuesday morning:
If Walker’s bill is passed, the governor said benefit and wage reforms would prevent the layoffs of 1,500 state government employees. If the bill is not passed by the end of the week, and the state is unable to restructure its debt — something Walker said would save $165 million — he warned more public employees could be laid off and services cut.
Walker said he’s prepared to start sending layoff notices to state workers “as soon as next week.” The governor said that the notices didn’t necessarily mean a worker would be laid off, but under existing contracts it’s required to notify workers of the potential for a coming layoff.
Walker said he’d “exempt certain areas” of state business from layoffs, like public safety, the Department of Corrections and other services. The governor again said he was unwilling to consider a compromise position on his budget proposal which would ban collective bargaining by most state worker unions.
Watch the interview: