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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defended his anti-union law in Washington Thursday, calling it “progressive, in the best sense of the word.”Walker, testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on state and municipal debt, said the new law will help the state avoid huge layoffs and property tax hikes.
From Walker’s testimony:
While our idea may be a bold political move it is a very modest request of our employees. We are reforming the collective bargaining system so our state and local governments can ask employees to contribute 5.8% for pension and 12.6% for health insurance premiums. These reforms will help them balance their budgets. In total, our collective bargaining reforms save local governments more than $700 million each year.
Democrats at the hearing targeted Walker for going after public sector unions and middle-class families, CBS reports. Pete Shumlin, the Democratic Governor of Vermont, accused Walker of masking his desire to curb union rights behind the state budget.
“If you want to go after collective bargaining, just come out and say it,” he said.