The Republican Governors Association has a new 30-second TV spot supporting Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin in his fight to restore fiscal sanity to the state’s budget — and slamming the fleebaggers for running away from the mess they helped create. The ad debuts just before Walker gives his address on the budget tonight, where he will unveil a plan to cut $3.6 billion over the next biennium:
Gov. Scott Walker will reveal on Tuesday the full cuts in state programs such as health care for the poor and aid to local governments needed to balance the state’s more than $3 billion budget deficit over the next two years.
At the same time, the state will hit a deadline for doing a refinancing deal that the Republican governor said is key to solving a more immediate budget problem and preventing the layoffs of up to 1,500 state workers. On Monday, Senate Democrats who have blocked that deal by holing up in Illinois put forward their own plan that they said could prevent the layoffs even if the refinancing falls through.
Walker has drawn considerable controversy in recent weeks for a budget-repair bill that would repeal most union bargaining rights for public workers. But his 2011-’13 budget plan will have tough decisions that will affect even more people in the state – including what he says will be more than $1 billion in cuts to state aid to school districts and local governments.
So what is this deal that fleebaggers offered yesterday, all the way from their remote location in Illinois? It’s not that much different from Walker’s plan, actually, since it cuts the same aid programs that Walker wants to target:
To do it, Miller said that the state would require Walker to find $79 million in cuts called for in the current budget bill that the Walker administration has said aren’t possible to find so quickly. In addition, the proposal would eliminate from the bill $42 million in spending in the state’s health programs for the poor that is designed to increase federal payments for those programs.
Finally, the proposal would also have to lower the minimum balance set in state law for the state’s main account from $65 million to $21.8 million – the new expected balance under the Democrats’ plan.
Sounds like an interesting plan. Perhaps Democrats should man up and return to the state legislature to offer it. Until they participate in the representative democracy of Wisconsin to which they were elected, all of this is nothing more than cheap talk.
Cheap is a relative term, however. The Journal-Sentinel reports that a significant amount of the campaign financing received by the fleebaggers came from unions, a rather unsurprising revelation:
The 14 Wisconsin Democratic senators who fled to Illinois share more than just political sympathy with the public employees and unions targeted by Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.
The Senate Democrats count on those in the public sector as a key funding source for their campaigns.
In fact, nearly one out of every five dollars raised by those Democratic senators in the past two election cycles came from public employees, such as teachers and firefighters, and their unions, a Journal Sentinel analysis of campaign records shows.
And yet Democrats still managed to lose control of both chambers of the legislature. It’s not just the RGA that “stands with Scott” in this fight.