Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch
says a union proposal for a two-year moratorium on collective bargaining to break the state’s budget-bill impasse is “no deal,” because there is “no money to negotiate with.”
Kleefisch Monday also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren taxpayers are bearing the burden for the walkout of Democratic state senators, who fled to Illinois in a concerted effort not to vote on the budget-cutting bill, which has caused legislative turmoil in Wisconsin for the past two weeks.
“I would like to know who is paying for the Democrats' vacation in Illinois, because I know, right now, the taxpayers are paying them every day,” Kleefisch told the host of Fox News’ “On the Record.” “Collectively, they are taking about $1,915 a day out of the taxpayers' pocket, and now the Democrats are fundraising from Illinois. That's disconcerting because on top of that, they're still taking state benefits for every day that they are not showing up for work.”
As to a proposal for a collective-bargaining moratorium: “That's a no deal. We just can't afford it,” she said. “We're not joking when we say that we're broke. We don't have any money to negotiate with, Greta.”
Kleefisch said Wisconsin is “proud to be a leader” in what apparently is becoming a national movement to rein in public-employee unions.
“I think Governor Scott Walker has done a tremendous job, blazing a trail when it comes to frugality and moderation, as we approach a fiscal crisis, because we know that Wisconsin is certainly not the only state facing this type of deep budget crisis,” she said. “We have a $3.6 billion – with a ‘B’ – deficit coming up in our next biennium. Right now, you know, we're facing a $137 million hole. That's what we need to fix, and that's what states around the nation are looking to fix.
“Some are choosing to fix it by raising taxes. We know that our hard-working families in Wisconsin can't afford that in the middle of the deepest economic recession in generations,” Kleefisch continued. “And so our governor, Scott Walker, has chosen to do the responsible thing and tell the truth to the taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin and balance this budget in a sound way.”
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