Wisconsin Doctors Tell Teachers: Call in Sick to Continue Protests


Following today's protests, the tea party group Northwood Patriots said it will meet Sunday to discuss the recall of state Senator Jim Holperin, while a separate group in Kenosha, called the Robert Wirch Exploratory Committee said it is looking into recalling state Senator Robert Wirch.

According to Madison's The Capital Times, a recall effort would require the exploratory committees to collect 15,000 to 20,000 petition signatures.

"[Wirch] needs to get back on the job," Dan Hunt, a self-proclaimed tea party member told The Capitol Times. "This has angered a lot of us. What you see in the capitol is just a bunch of out-of-state people being paid by the unions."

Sarah Palin also weighed in on the matter in a Facebook post on Friday, telling union members that they should break away from leaders.

"You don't have to kowtow to the union bosses who are not looking out for you, but instead are using you," wrote Palin.

"Wisconsin union bosses want union members out in the streets demanding that tax payers foot the bill for unsustainable benefits packages," she wrote.

Walker told reporters Friday that he would not "allow protesters to drown out the voice of the taxpayers," adding that he had received 19,000 supportive e-mails this week and that a "quiet majority" of the state's residents are behind his plan.

Fourteen state Democrats, holed up in an undisclosed hotel just over the border in Illinois, have been speaking to the press about their efforts to halting the voting process so the public can weigh in.

"This might be the only option we really have to try to say to the governor, 'Let's slow this down, you're ramming this through,'" said state Sen. Dave Hansen.

"The idea is to sit down and negotiate," said state Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, another Democrat who left the state. "We've heard over 1,000 people testify about the impact this is going to have on their lives. It's heartbreaking. People break down in tears. This is a disaster and we're being asked to swallow it in just four days."

Walker, who unveiled the budget bill last Saturday, has been calling upon the Democrats to return and end their "theatrics."

"I think it's time for them to come home and do their job," he said.

Walker, faced with a $3.6 billion deficit, denied he is trying to bust the unions.

"The bottom line is we're broke," the governor said. "We can't negotiate for something we don't have the ability to give on."

But Miller said Walker is offering tax breaks elsewhere -- such as at an earlier legislative session where "he created $140 million in tax breaks for corporations in Wisconsin."

Wisconsin has a $137 million shortfall this year and $3.6 billion over the next two years.

In spite of all the protestors, Democrats are likely to lose the vote.

Other governors facing similar budget crises are watching Wisconsin carefully. More than 40 states are facing a combined projected shortfall of $125 billion for the fiscal year of 2012.

The hardest hit are California, facing a $25.5 billion gap, Texas at $13 billion, Illinois at $15 billion, New York at $9 billion and New Jersey at $10.5 billion.

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