Governor Scott Walker made a quick, quiet stop in Eau Claire Monday, to make the case for passage of his budget repair bill. Only media were allowed inside the hangar at Heartland Aviation at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport where the Governor took a few questions. The trip was not much publicized, though about 30 protesters did get the word in time to gather outside. Walker repeated his call for 14 missing democratic senators to return. “Many of those 14 state senators said their bottom line concern was that somehow the legislation was being rushed through, that the public didn’t have enough time to look at it,” said Walker. “Two and a-half weeks have gone by, and I think by any measure, people will tell you, whether they agree or disagree with the bill, that there’s been no doubt the public has had enough time to know what’s inside it.” Walker said local governments and school boards will need the tools the bill provides, to deal with a billion dollars in cuts in the next two-year budget.
The Republican Governor said time is running out to restructure the state’s debt and save millions of dollars. “By the end of the day, for us to be able to do all that’s required in terms of the paperwork to achieve those $165 million of savings, the measure has to be acted on by tomorrow,” said Walker. “Whether you’re for or against the bill, I don’t think there’s anyone who wants to see the state lose out on $165 million worth of savings.” The Governor said word that unions would compromise on benefits is not enough. “Two statewide union leaders could not arbitrarily make contracts with the more than a thousand municipalities, the 72 counties, the more than 422 school districts, and the last two weeks have borne that out.” Walker said recently several local contracts have been approved without the proposed concessions.