Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) spoke to the press on Thursday morning, at a heated moment when the Capitol was under lockdown amid protests over the impending passage of his anti-public employee union proposals. Walker himself used the language of class in his discussion of the bill's benefits -- and also touted what he said was the bill's clear fiscal impact.
"Ultimately what you saw in the bill that passed last night in the state Senate, and will shortly be debated and voted on in the state Assembly, a measure that's really about reform. It's about giving local governments the reform - and state government as well -- the reforms they need to make government work better, to make government work for the people of this state and in each of our communities.
"Along with that, it also gives the tools not only to improve government for the people of this state, particularly the middle-class taxpayers of this state, but it ultimately allows us the tools at both the state and the local level to balance our budgets, and to balance our budgets not just now but into the future. This is ultimately about a commitment to the future, so our children don't face even more dire consequences than what we face today. That's what this bill is all about."
Later, Walker discussed the surprise maneuver launched by Republicans Wednesday night, in which the original budget repair bill was broken apart to allow for the passage of Walker's anti-union provisions on their own. The original budget repair bill had required a three-fifths quorum before heading to a vote -- a quorum that was successfully blocked by Senate Democrats having left the state. But on Wednesday the Republicans put the anti-union provisions into another bill - and quickly passed it without the need for a three-fifths quorum.
"We followed the law, and yet it allows us to move forward with these reforms --Â which are indeed fiscal," said Walker. "They're not in conflict with that requirement for a quorum, but they are indeed fiscal. They give a fiscal benefit to the state, for the remainder of the year it'll allow us to save 30m, which allows us to save 1500 jobs, and for the next two years thereafter in the next budget it gives us the equivalent of $300 million worth of savings, which allows us to save 5-6,000 jobs."