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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. . 

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. 

Julie Olson February 19, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Walker is a liar, a cheat and a pandering puppet to big corporations and his rich allies. The pensions and insurance concessions are not entirely unreasonable, but Walker's sneakier, more threatening attack is on workers' rights to organise and join unions. Without the unions' collective bargaining rights, workers are left at the mercy of their employers. Do you enjoy your weekends, your 40-hour work-week and the fact that your 8 year old doesn't work in a factory? Then THANK A UNION. Unions protect and negotiate for their members. Unions give power to the workers who might otherwise be taken advantage of by their more powerful bosses. This is setting up to be the biggest setback for American labor in years. DOWN WITH WALKER.
Alicia Smokowicz February 19, 2011 at 02:15 PM
New for all you peope against the bill. Scott Walker is not doing away with the union He wants to do what is right and I do believe this should of been done along time ago. If anyone put us in this mess is Doyle
Paul S, WFB February 19, 2011 at 05:52 PM
I'm not for Walker, or the unions, I'm for the taxpayer. It seems so often that elected officials treat tax revenues as "their" money to collect and distribute, the recipients of that tax money become the main (and most vocal) constituents, and the benefactor--the tapayer--gets lost in the din. I am mystified as to how an elected official believes that they should represent the views of anyone other than the people who elected them. I have not heard a single argument from protesters (or the group camped out in Illinois) that somehow their position serves the interests of the taxpayers. I have not heard a single argument from a Democratic leslator that their position serves the majority of the electorate that put them there. It clearly serves the "public servants," who are a small minority of the elecorate (I think it's about 350,000 people out of 5,000,000 voters in Wisconsin). No one wants a pay cut, much less an unfavorable change in the balance of power with their employer. But the reality is that it's happened in the private sector for the past several years, and that it's happening in the public sector is simply an extension of the economic realities we face as a state and as a nation. Perhaps there is some middle ground to be found here, and hopefully the quality of discourse improves to something greater than sloganeering, jeering and namecalling by a small minorty acting on greed and self-interest.
David Tatarowicz February 19, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Recall Scott Walker? After first year in office you can decide --- see http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_124743020921480&ap=1
Joe Peterlin February 19, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Much venom and misinformation is being spewed for no good reason. Elected officials are signing legislation into law. The bill will pass in it's current form. Total compensation of the public sector has needed to be brought into alignment with total compensation for the private sector for decades. This is only a small, but much needed step in that direction. The voters decided this, not Governor Walker or the legislature. Democracy is at work. Anyone who thinks that this a part of some hidden agenda is kidding themselves. This is nothing more than a mandate from informed voters. Elections are held every two years, the last time that I checked.

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