Walker Visits Wausau

By: Phil Levin Email
By: Phil Levin Email

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The day after Governor Scott Walker unveiled his full budget plan he toured the state to build support.

The trip included a brief stop in Wausau where he met with members of the media.

Walker expressed frustration with out-of-state groups trying to influence the legislature. He also defended billions in budget cuts. That includes more than $800 million in reduced spending on K-12 schools and more than a 10 percent cut to funding for the University of Wisconsin System.

"I told voters all across the state i was going to balance the budget, I was going to do it through reform, I was going to do it through additional wage and benefit reform," said Walker. "I talked about the fact that I wasn't going to add an additional tax burden to devastate the economy, and so I feel like in the end what I'm doing right now is fulfilling a campaign promise."

Walker also flew to press conferences in Eau Claire, Green Bay, and Madison.

A group of activists outside the airport in Wausau were upset to be kept out of Walker's media-only speech. They chanted "Union busting is disgusting" from outside the gates.

"I think it would have been nice if we would have been able to hear what he had to say," said UW-Marathon County Freshman Matt Reuth. "We just were let outside just to stand, and to have him here and see that we are here and against his bill."

Walker also says he is not backing down on union collective bargaining. It's a plan that's drawn as many as 70,000 demonstrators to Madison every day.

"As a former elected official i know full well collective bargaining does have a fiscal impact, it does affect the budget, and so for us to completely give that up would take away some of the biggest budgetary relief our local governments can get."

"I'm a music education major," said Reuth. "With education being a big thing that's getting cut I'm kind of also second-guessing if I want to continue with my education major."

The state legislature is expected to debate and modify the budget bill for several weeks before passing a vote.

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