Capitol Chaos: Dems Away for 13th Day

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ILLINOIS - As Senate Democrats stay away from Madison, they're not staying away from commenting on Walker's newest budget plans. 

"Local units of government won't have a choice.  They're going to have to lay off public employees," Middleton Democratic State Senator Jon Erpenbach told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

"Scott Walker wants to eliminate as many public employees as he can.  He's got to get rid of the unions."

Walker's plans to roll back many public workers' union bargaining rights is in the Governor's budget repair bill, and Erpenbach says it's part of a plan to bring in private contractors instead of paying union members to do government work.

Walker's Budget Plans: 
Click here to read Walker's plan "in brief"
2011-13 Budget Breakdown
Original Budger Repair Bill

Raw Video: 
Governor Walker's News Conference at State Fair Park
Milwaukee Democratic Senator Chris Larson Responds To Walker State Fair Comments
Democrat Helps Grothman During Protest
Governor Walker's Address (with full text)
Senate Democrats Respond

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"You can lay off the snowplow drivers at the local level, but it's still going to snow.  The work needs to be done."

If Walker agrees to get rid of the collective bargaining rights provision in the budget repair bill, "we could be up in Madison this afternoon, voting on this," claimed Erpenbach.

"Both the Governor and Scott Fitzgerald said that they're not going to negotiate, we're kind of wondering how they want us to come back and debate something that they said is not negotiable."

Since Walker refuses to change the rollback on many union members' bargaining rights, Erpenbach says Democrats won't roll back into Wisconsin. 

"We are definitely doing our job by being where we are," he said.

"We are standing up for the thousands and thousands of people who understand what the proposal means for not only them, but their family members, friends and neighbors."

Who Is Paying For Their Time Away?

According to Erpenbach, taxpayers and unions are not fitting the bill.

"The costs right now are coming out of my pocket.  My mom and dad are helping out, and my aunt and uncle who live in the area are also helping me out."

As for the other 13?

"Nobody is taking their per diem," says Erpenbach.

"Nobody is being put up by the unions, as some people like to think.  We're all paying for this out of our pocket."