MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker released a two-year budget plan that cuts $1.5 billion in aid to public schools and local governments, as well as cutting almost 22,000 state jobs over a two-year span.
Walker's proposal, released this late this afternoon as a national furor continues over his fight with unions to cut the budget, would require state workers to contribute more to their health and retirement plans to close a $3.6 billion budget deficit.
It also would avoid tax or fee increases, employee furloughs, or widespread layoffs — if his contentious collective-bargaining proposal is put in place.
The first-term Republican, whose plan to curb collective bargaining for public workers spurred protests across the country, would cut money for most state departments by 10 percent and lower public education funds by more than $700 million.
The $60 billion spending plan cuts outlays by $1.7 billion annually for the two years beginning July 1.
Walker refuses to budge on a plan to eliminate most public employee collective-bargaining rights. The proposal has stirred a national debate and drawn tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol.
Walker said his full budget plan bolsters his argument for union concessions to deal with the projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall. Eliminating most collective bargaining will allow state agencies, local governments, and school districts flexibility to react quickly to the cuts he's proposing, he said.
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