Embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker revealed his full two-year budget plan Tuesday, even as he waits for Senate Democrats to return to vote on a more immediate emergency budget bill.The proposal would cut state spending by nearly 7% to close the state’s projected $3.6 billion budget deficit for FY 2012 and 2013.
To achieve this, Walker recommended eliminating almost 22,000 jobs from state payrolls and slashing more than $1.25 billion in state aid to school districts and local governments. The Republican governor, who opposes raising taxes, suggested he would also try and limit local government’s ability to offset the cuts with property tax hikes.
The budget proposal comes amid ongoing protests in Madison over a Republican plan to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees. Walker is in a political deadlock with Democrats, who are hiding out to avoid a vote on the measure, which is packaged in an emergency budget repair bill that addresses this year’s $137 million budget shortfall.
Walker has threatened to lay off hundreds of state workers if Democrats didn’t come back for a vote before the state missed its chance to refinance $165 million in debt. But his Tuesday deadline came and went with no signs of the truant lawmakers.
Wisconsin – a very creditworthy state – won’t face fiscal disaster if it can’t refinance the debt, the WSJ reports. There are other ways to address the shortfall, which is only about 0.5% of the state’s budget.