Protests statewide in response to Governor's budget repair bill - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Protests statewide in response to Governor's budget repair bill


DANE COUNTY (WKOW) -- Public employees, students, and teachers rallied Sunday against Governor Walker's plan to fix the state's budget shortfall.

They rallied outside the Governor's mansion, and in front of the state Capitol in Madison. Others rallied in front of Representative Jeff Fitzgerald's home in Horicon.

Governor Walker's Budget Repair Bill proposes that all state and local employees pay more for their pensions and health care benefits, and his proposal to take away their ability to collectively bargain everything except their salaries.

Rob Koenig is a state worker, who says he'll lose $4,000 if Walker's plan goes through. Koenig says, "We understand the state budget problem is real. What we don't understand is that they need to balance that solely on the backs of public employees."

Perhaps the most striking of all gatherings, the turnout at Middleton High School for a question-answer session with legislators. Also on hand, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and the Dane County Sheriff.

Erin Anderson, a teacher with the Madison School District, "With Walker's plan... my family may be losing 12% of my yearly income. There's going to be great financial strain on my family, we'll be living paycheck to paycheck."

Governor Walker has said without this action, the state will be forced to layoff thousands of workers. Walker's press secretary Cullen Werwie released this statement, "Both democrats and republicans know that state workers do great work. But unfortunately many private sector workers who are also hard working, good people either lost their job, took a pay cut, or saw their benefit package reduced as a result of the recent economic downturn. Governor Walker's budget repair bill strikes a fair balance-asking public employees to make a modest 5.8% pension contribution, which is about the national average, and 12.6% health insurance contribution, which is about half the national average."

Republican Senator Glenn Grothman says he'll vote for the bill, and hopes others do the same. He said, "I think most of the public employees in the state will realize until our national economy gets turned around, they'll have to deal with a mildly smaller take home check, just as I do."

Madison West High School teacher Steve Pike said he's shocked about the plan to cut collective bargaining. Pike said, "This is really going to affect teachers and families. I've had teachers tell me they won't be able to stay in their home. This is really going to hit working families hard."

Governor Walker has extended the special session so that the bill can move to the Assembly and the Senate this week.


WISCONSIN (WKOW) --  Rallies and protests are forming across the state in response to Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill.

UW students gathered Saturday to show their opposition to the bill, claiming that the new proposal is unfair.

Public employees plan to picket the Governor's Mansion Sunday afternoon and then rally at the Capitol building to show their opposition to the Governor's proposed bill.

Others plan to march to the house of Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and rally in Horicon at noon Sunday at 204 West Lake Street.

Two more rallies are scheduled to take place in Madison on the Capitol steps on Tuesday and Wednesday. Buses will be provided across the state to transport people to Madison for state employee rallies.

More information is coming out about this budget repair bill.

Everyone who works for the state or local governments would lose their right to negotiate everything from vacations to sick leave under Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill -- except for local police, firefighters and state troopers.

Walker's bill would strip state and local government employees, including teachers, custodians and game wardens, of their ability to collectively bargain everything except their wages. But the measure carves out a special exemption for local police officers, firefighters and the State Patrol.

Critics say the move amounts to political payback for unions that support Walker and could create a schism between government workers. Walker counters that the state has had a long tradition of protecting local safety services.


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