A look at budget battle outside Madison - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

A look at budget battle outside Madison

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By Lysée Mitri - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

DODGEVILLE (WKOW) -- Madison is the center of the protests and politics about the budget repair bill, but it is on the minds of people all over Wisconsin.

WKOW went to Dodgeville to see how residents there are reacting to the budget battle.

Joan Mish is a retired teacher with three kids working at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She says Governor Scott Walker doesn't know how to listen.

"The union has offered to discuss things," Mish said. "They have even offered to pay what [Walker] wants, but he won't talk to them. That is not democracy."

She says her children have been in Madison, participating in the demonstrations. Mish hopes to join them this weekend.

Paul Klaas' mother is a teacher. He says she is willing to make sacrifices by paying more into health care and pension but getting rid of bargaining rights is the real issue.

"I think there are other ways of getting that same thing accomplished without getting rid of collective bargaining," Klaas said.

On the other hand, Gordon Whitford says no one should be surprised by the repair bill.

"[Walker] said that is what he was going to do when he was running [for governor], so we knew what was coming," he said.

Whitford said labor unions are getting too powerful and that the people should go along with Walker's plan.

Similarly, Russ Symons is against the union protests at the Capitol.

"My belief is there are no free rides," he said. "People need to pay for stuff if they want it."

He said state workers made the choice to take those jobs, and they need to live with it or change jobs.

"The retail business I was in took a hit five or six years ago," Symons said. "I lost 50 percent of my business, but I didn't see anyone screaming and jumping and hollering to save me."

Everyone I talked to agreed the budget repair bill has been a very popular topic of conversation.

Although they aren't at the Capitol making their opinions known, many have very strong feelings on both sides of the debate.

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