Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) took to the state airwaves Tuesday evening to offer another defense of his controversial budget package, which includes a provision that would strip many state workers of their collective bargaining rights. Speaking to camera, Walker repeated his threat of layoffs to come, if 14 state Senate Democrats who skipped town to prevent a vote from taking place, don’t return to Madison. Walker said the protesters still packed in and around the state Capitol in Madison don’t represent the people of Wisconsin.
“As more and more protesters come in from Nevada, Chicago and elsewhere, I’m not going to allow their voices to overwhelm the voices of the millions of taxpayers all across this state who know we’re doing the right thing,” Walker said. “This is a decision that Wisconsin will make.”
Walker warned of “dire consequences” if the AWOL Senate Democrats — who left the state last week to prevent the Senate from getting the necessary quorum to vote on Walker’s budget bill — don’t return to Madison immediately.
The people who will suffer if the Democrats stay away, Walker said, will be the very state workers they say they’re trying to protect.
“Failure to act on this budget repair bill means at least 1,500 state workers will be laid off before the end of June,” he said. “If there’s no agreement by July 1, another 5-6,000 state workers as well as 5-6,000 local government employees would also be laid off.”
Walker said that if the Democrats don’t come home soon, the responsibility for those potentially 10,000 plus layoffs will fall squarely on their shoulders.
Walker again made it clear that he was not going to be the one to back down or yield to compromise.
“We’re broke in this state because, time and time again, politicians of both political parties ran away from the tough decisions and punted them down the road for another day,” he said. “We can no longer do that.”
Watch Walker’s address: