Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says that, if he had it to do all over again, he probably would handle his controversial budget decisions differently. The Badger State’s $66 billion spending plan passed without a single Democratic vote amid bitter protests and acrimonious outcries from public employees.
“I kinda came in with the mentality of someone running a small business, who figures you got a problem, you identify it, you tackle it — you deal with it head-on,” Walker said today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “In our case, I think in a political environment, if you spend a little bit more time early on kinda explaining why this was needed, doing things like we’re doing right now, walking people through the paces.
“We took the largest structural deficit ever — we took a deficit going into this budget of $3.6 billion — turned into a surplus, gave our schools and our local governments the tools they need to more than offset the changes in state aid, and actually will freeze property taxes over the next two years, helping us create more jobs in the state — those are the things people understand,” he said.
Walker said he was not prepared for the onslaught of national union officials who came to Wisconsin to protest reductions in public-employee benefits he instilled to balance the budget.
“We didn’t view this as a national debate — we viewed this as a Wisconsin debate,” he said. “The national powers came in; they bought millions of dollars in attack ads, and we just tried to get the job done.
“So, if I had it over to do again, I would have ultimately laid a clearer framework from the onset and be prepared for those national attacks,” he said.
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