Budget Battle: Senate Adjourns; Walker Delays Budget
Protests and missing senators are delaying action on Gov. Scott Walker's controversial proposal to strip public employee unions of their collective-bargaining rights.
The state Senate adjourned Friday without taking action on Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget repair bill, which has drawn tens of thousands of protestors to Madison this week.
Walker also announced he would delay releasing his state budget until March 1, a week later than initially planned. However, he still intends to address the Assembly and Senate on Tuesday. The speech is typically used to introduce the governor's two-year spending plan for the state.
Both actions are minor victories for the throngs of protestors and the wayward senators trying to stop Walker's plan to strip public employee unions of their collective-bargaining rights. The proposal is part the governor's plan to fix a projected $3.6 billion budget deficit in state spending this year.
Protestors, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, again packed the state Capitol Friday to pressure Republicans to relent. A counter-protest, composed of Walker supporters, is planned for Saturday at the Capitol.
The crowds maintained the massive protest Friday throughout the Capitol Square in Madison showing their support to public workers.
"This is about workers' rights. It's not about budgets or money, it's about workers' rights," said Wally Leimenger, a Caledonia figherfighter. "This is an all-out attack on workers."
Sue and Jack, both teachers from Caledonia, attended the protests in Madison Friday. They said the key issue is retaining the right to bargain as a union.
"It’s all about respect," said Sue, who like Jack, declined to give her last name because she took off of work Friday to attend the rally. "We want collective bargaining. All we want to do is have the right to negotiate."
Jack added that he didn't believe Walker was being honest with the state's budget numbers.
"Governor Walker is lying about the budget deficit," he said. "We don't have a deficit."
Protests at the Capitol slowed down Friday afternoon as rain started to fall. Warm weather earlier in the day turned out a big crowd, but many people left the streets and ducked into bars and restaurants as temperatures dropped.
Saturday's forecast calls for sunny skies, but highs just in the low 30s.