Capitol Chaos: Senate Dems Attack Budget
ILLINOIS - Wisconsin's Senate Democrats are attacking Governor Scott Walker's 2011-13 budget plan from across state lines.
They watched the speech from a hotel in Illinois as they headed toward their 13th day outside Wisconsin in an effort to avoid a quorum and a vote on Walker's budget repair bill.
Despite the threats of dire consequences in the budget address, Senate Democrats said they will not return to Wisconsin until they can reach a compromise with Republicans.
They expressed outrage about proposed cuts to schools and local governments.
Walker repeatedly threatened that the cuts would be even deeper if Democrats do not return home to pass the budget repair bill.
Five of the Democrats said they were not budging from south of the state line.
"If the governor would have taken the fiscal concessions that were given to him and not expanded it to take away collective bargaining which has been in place for more than 50 years, we'd have had a deal a long time ago," said Green Bay Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen.
Some of the Democrats had met Monday night with Juneau Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, but without a deal.
Meanwhile, Democrats accuse Walker of dismantling Wisconsin's way of life.
"What's it going to mean to increase class sizes?" asked Hansen.
"Fewer teachers? Fewer programs? What about arts programs? Music? Athletics? Does he care about that? Public education has been a bulwark of Wisconsin. He's backing off that commitment."
Democrats say they'll be optimistic they'll be able to reach a deal with their Republican colleagues in the Senate, if not Governor Walker.