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February 18th, 2011
10:28 AM ET

Brooke Baldwin asks WI State Senator, "Where Are You?"

Brooke Baldwin (@brookebcnn) speaks with Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, who tells Baldwin, "We will return if the governor does his job." Miller defends the Democrats' decision not to show up for a key budget vote.

Filed under: Anchors • Brooke Baldwin • CNN Newsroom
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Rita Higgins

    I am not a union sympathizer, as I feel that in many instances they block the ability to use resources effectively. I will however say that this is absolutely the most underhanded move that I have ever seen in this state. A piece of legislation is made in the dark of night, and then pushed for a vote in less than a week. There is absolutely no reason for it to be handled in this manner, and the governor left little choice for those being affected seeing that he gave them less than seven days to fight for their rights.

    If you listen to the protestors, they are not protesting the fact that they have to pay more for their benefits. What they are protesting is that the government is trying to "union bust" with the pen of law. I agree that all should have to pitch in and sacrifice in these hard economic times. I agree that they should have to pay more. I don't agree that in one swoop people should loose their ability to negotiate.

    The Democratic Senators had no choice. They were faced with leaving so that their constituents could be heard, or not leave and have the vote pushed through. Scott Walker refused to allow discussions, and he is asking people to "do their job." Those senators are "doing their job" because they are taking the only action the can to protect their constituents voice, which the governor tried to silence.

    I do not support unions gouging companies or municipalities, but I do support their right to negotiate. Everyone has the choice to either accept the terms, or to face layoffs. That decision should be left to the union and their members. In the end, the company/municipality is still paying the same amount of money.

    Just because cuts need to be made doesn't mean that unions have to have their rights taken. The cuts and increases in benefit payments can be made without that. The governor conveniently left fire and police unions out of the deal, as they were huge supporters for him. I guess that they are more important than everyone else.

    February 18, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  2. George

    Unions are getting fired up in Ohio.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  3. Mary Carle

    I'm in Madison, WI. My husband is president of the Madison Teacher's union. The true facts are this is Walker and Republican's trying to bust the unions. There was a budget surplus when Gov. Walker took office. He then gave 137 million dollar tax break to corporations. NOW we have a 137 million budget deficit. Now he wants to paint unions as the blame. Check the Fiscal Bureau report. The facts are he is lying when he says this is a choice between "layoffs" or Union pay cuts. It's a false choice. This budget "repair bill does nothing to help the "deficit" he just created.

    February 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  4. Sherry

    In the meantime, the kids are the ones who are not having classes. Its too bad the adults make it about them and not what it is really about – the students! You can have disagreements and work through solutions without punishing the kids, but the unions demand that the kids will suffer if they don't get their way. The state is broke. We can't continue to live on the borrowed dime. What part of that don't the teachers get? Oh and the concessions are miniscule and still much smaller than the average private sector worker contributes towards their healthcare and retirement!

    February 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  5. Bill Lee

    P.S. Hey Sherry. This is so much about kids you can't even fathom it. The drastic cuts have been happening in Wisconsin for a long time. And two weeks ago we jut provided $150 Million in tax cuts to multinnational companies like Walmart and McDonalds. Now we need to get $30 Million out of the public workers followed by threats of hundreds more in cuts per student from the state. Please know everything that's been happening in our state.

    February 18, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  6. Al

    The education funding crisis is not just Wisconson and Colorado. It it a nation wide disaster in the making. We hear everyday how American children are failing in respect to other countries in the world, and now it is the biggest target of everyone in government to try to balance budgets, state and federal. When are we going to start asking those in office, that are making these decisions and suggestions, to cut their own extravagant wages. Every time I hear of budget shortfalls, it is the middle class laborers, teachers, construction workers, and all those doing the everyday mundane jobs that keep this country running that end up on the short end. It is never those in office. They just vote themselves new pay increases and expect all the rest of us to pay for them. I say cut government wages, and especially pensions, down to be in line with the rest of the 'normal' population and the budget crisis will solve itself. We cannot afford it any more.

    February 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  7. Les Stowe

    The Gov. has done his job of trying to Reduce the Deficit of his State, but the Dem;s refuse to do their job. And, the DNC is stepping in to deliver these protestors ! that is against the law ! and the President has sent his Organizing Committee to help ! That is against the law... bet me we can't IMPEACH this President O'Slimey on this one...this is far more Gredious than getting a little poon-Tang on the side guys.. This President has Clearly Broken the Law...get a grip kids...told you O'Slimey was dangerous for "WE the People" !!! He never ran a Candy Store did He ? Either Get back to work dems ! or Get them out of the Gov't in Wisconsin.. end of story...bye.

    February 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  8. Rita

    I truly hope that the same WI residents that have an issue with students not being in class today have the same passion when those same students sit in overcrowded classrooms in schools with no libraries.

    I am a taxpayer! I paid more in income taxes last year than some people earn in a year, so I am more than willing to pay my fair share. Scott Walker says he wants to do what is right for taxpayers, yet my 5K a year in property taxes in addition to my income taxes will go for business tax breaks and not my child's school.

    I hope the parents who don't want to see the entire situation and call those teachers awol are ok with paying taxes and still not having quality schools, having to pay more in the form of fees, not having music and athletics, etc.

    This is much bigger than teachers/state workers being asked to pay more. Those who keep coming back to this one point are not paying attention, and seem to be quoting their information from television commercials. But that's what we do these days. We need to stop being baby birds and letting television ads feed us. Make an effort to go and fact find.

    February 18, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  9. Brenda Overmyer

    The Wi gov is correct in balancing the budget. The people in error are the 14 lawmakers that left town to avoid doing their jobs. The people in those respective districts should fire those lawmakers. What person working for a private enterprise could leave work for that long and still get paid? Are the citizens of WI also having to pay for the room and board for these 14 lawmakers that are avoiding their responsibilities.
    I do thing that unions have outlived their usefulness. They have become one of the biggest threats to American business. The are one of the reasons that a large part of our country has been outsourced.
    The unions need to be downgraded to a degree because there is no private business that can afford to pay 90% of the medical and retirement benefits for all of their employees.
    Hold on Governor!!!!!!!!! You are doing your job.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm |

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