Budget Battle: Barrett 'Never Seen Anything Like This'

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  • Mayor Tom Barrett. | Photo: TODAY'S TMJ4

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee's mayor, who ran for governor against Scott Walker and lost, has mixed opinions on what Walker's budget bill is doing. 

"I have never seen anything like this in 25 years of public service," said Mayor Tom Barrett on 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" about Walker's budget bill which would cut many unions' abilities to negotiate their benefits, and the protests against the bill in Madison.

He says he gets the need to cut costs when it comes to state employees.

"Public employees have to pay more towards pension and health care," he explained, but he didn't agree with Walker's methodology of doing so in the bill

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Click here for school district closings

Related audio: Click on the links below to hear Newsradio 620 WTMJ "Wisconsin Afternoon News" exclusive interviews about the budget/union bill
Governor Scott Walker
Madison Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach
Madison Teachers Union Executive Director John Matthews

"Where you really have a fundamental shift here is denying the fundamental right to organize.  It think that's wrong.  You can't just deny people the right to organize."

Another thing he called wrong was the exemption of unions that exempt Milwaukee police officers and firefighters, "which ties us up in mediation and arbitration for years, because it goes issue by issue by issue.

"It's like a family.  When you have a problem, everybody's got to be part of the solution."

He considers what Walker is doing at least partially motivated by politics.

"I just don't think this is the time for a political payout," said Barrett.

The Milwaukee police and fire unions both supported Walker's political campaign for governor.

Barrett also calls it wrong for his city's public school teachers to call in sick and go to Madison to protest the budget bill during school hours.

"My wife is a teacher.  I think the teachers should be in the classroom."