That was the message the Wisconsin State Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller wanted to send to Gov. Scott Walker after Miller and 13 fellow Democratic senators fled the state in order to avoid a budget vote that would take away state employee’s bargaining rights and increase health care costs and contributions to pensions.
“The workers of Wisconsin have always been willing to work with the governor when we face a crisis whether it is a national disaster or a fiscal crisis. They did it the last session, they took furloughs equivalent to a 3% pay cut, they will do it again,” Miller said on “GMA.” “The really insulting thing is the governor never, ever asked them. He just introduced this law last week Friday and expected to be passed yesterday, unacceptable. It is not the way we do things in Wisconsin, it is not the American way.”
Wisconsin is trying to overcome a $137 million budget shortfall which would turn into a $3.6 billion problem over the next two years.
The governor has called on the senators to return to Madison to do the job they were elected to do. But Miller – who spoke from an undisclosed location out of the reach of the Wisconsin state patrol – said the budget crisis is entirely of Walker’s “own making.”
“We had a much bigger deficit at the end of the Bush recession that hit our state and every state like a thunderclap. It was a $6.6 billion deficit and we solved that deficit and employees stepped up,” Miller told me.
“We hope that the governor will respect the workers of Wisconsin and maintain the long standing tradition of sitting down and negotiating issues, sit down and treat people like human beings, like the human beings that provided such valuable public services and that’s our goal,” he said.
Watch the interview here: