Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature were briefed Thursday on the details of a budget repair bill from Governor Scott Walker. The legislation, which Walker will announce on Friday, will address a $136 million shortfall in the current state budget, which ends in June.
The state Senate broke for the briefing in the midst of debating Walker’s special session legislation which give the office of the governor greater authority over administrative rules developed by state agencies. “I would hope it would be an open meeting for all of us,” said Senator Bob Jauch. (D-Poplar). “I’ll tell you what goes on in the meeting when it’s over,” said Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah). “It would have been helpful to have scheduled a briefing for the Democratic caucus, also,” said Minority Leader Mark Miller (D-Monona).
Walker has said repeatedly that he wants unionized state employees to pay more for their health care, and to contribute to their pension benefits, as one means of closing the budget gap. State workers worry that Walker will try to decertify their unions’ rights to collective bargaining. A source briefed on the budget repair bill told the Associated Press that he will cut most collective bargaining rights