A GOP state senator Monday said a claim by MSNBC's Chris Matthews
that Gov. Scott Walker exempted police and firefighters from Wisconsin’s budget-cutting bill because their unions endorsed him in last November's election is an effort “completely to mislead your listening audience.”
“Well one more time you're completely uninformed,” said State Sen. Glenn Grothman. “The firemen’s union around this state has repeatedly campaigned against Republicans, and the statewide police have repeatedly campaigned against Republicans.
“Governor Walker is doing this out of financial necessity,” Grothman Monday told the “Hardball” host, referring to the budget bill, which would limit most public-employees unions’ ability to collectively bargain for benefits.
“And out of financial necessity, the state with a $3 billion budget deficit, has to do something,” he said. “Governor Walker, as well, as the cities, counties, and schools – which all rely on state money – can either lay people off or have everybody take a mild reduction in take-home pay. Myself, with a mild reduction in take-home pay, is part of that.”
Matthews asked whether there weren’t local union affiliates that endorsed Walker.
“I can think of two small locals,” Grothman said. “The vast majority, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, the vast majority of firemen's unions, worked against Walker in this campaign – and to say otherwise is completely to mislead your listening audience.”
Walker recently also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the charge he was exempting police and firefighters was "ridiculous." He said he didn't recommend changing the rules for police officers and firefighters because he didn’t want public-safety work disrupted.
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