Wis. Dems in Ill. vow to fight gov's budget plan

March 1, 2011 4:55:18 PM PST
Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker presented a budget Tuesday that would cut $1.5 billion from education and aid to local governments.

Fourteen Democratic senators from Wisconsin have been in Illinois for 12 days trying to prevent a vote on the collective bargaining issue.

A few of the Democrats gathered at a hotel in north suburban Grayslake to listen as Walker outlined the two-year budget.

"It was more that he put this out as saying theres is no negotiations on this budget repair bill, and really through out the negotiating table wanted to ram this thing through, and we said, that is not how we operate, that's not democracy. And we've been able to slow it down and bring attention to it," said State Sen. Chris Larson ( D), Wisconsin.

Larson said he is prepared to dig in and fight Walker's plans to slash more than a billion dollars in funding for schools and local governments to help close a projected $3.6 billion shortfall.

"I think we want to see what is in it, to see if we can come to an agreement with the budget repair bill, which we're still having negotiations on. We are looking forward to getting back in the next couple of weeks," said Larson.

The widespread layoffs to strip the union of bargaining rights is put in place. That plan was announced two weeks ago and sparked massive protests at the Wisconsin state capital.

On Tuesday, Walker addressed the Democratic senators directly.

"Let us not lose sight of the fact that we were each elected to represent the people of this state by participating in our democratic process," said Gov. Walker.

"He is bent on breaking the back the back of working men and women in the state of Wisconsin, and the new budget will reflect that," said Sen. Mark Miller (D), Wisconsin.

The Republican leader of the state senate said he has met secretly with a couple of Democrats and that they seem conflicted about staying in Illinois. But the Democrats said Tuesday that is not true and that they are still discussing what it will take to come back.