Tea partiers, public workers voice opinions about budget repair - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Tea partiers, public workers voice opinions about budget repair bill

By Bonnie Shelton

WAUSAU (WAOW)--People on both sides of Governor Walker's budget repair bill made sure their voices were heard Saturday. While Tea Party members and Scott Walker supporters headed to Madison, Democratic Representatives held a press conference in Wausau to voice their opinions on the bill.

Tea Party members and Walker supporters boarded buses at Wausau Homes early Saturday so they could stand with the Governor in Madison.

"Our state is in crisis right now. We're 3.6 billion dollars in debt and Governor Walker has put forth really the only alternative to laying workers off, which is to ask government employees to contribute to their health insurance at a higher percentage and also their retirement," said Wausau Tea Party Organizer Meg Ellefson.

According to Ellefson, close to 100 people climbed aboard two buses in order to support the Governor at a rally in the state's capitol, Saturday. "All the eyes of the nation are on Wisconsin right now and we need to show a strong support for our Governor who has made a tough decision," she said.

Later that afternoon, public workers and citizens opposed to the bill gather with Democratic Representatives at the Labor Temple in Wausau to discuss what they see as downsides of the budget repair bill.

"The unions are cognizant of the economic climate in Wisconsin and my understanding is they are willing to agree to the economic concessions that the governor has asked for, but we will not concede any collective bargaining rights," said Wisconsin Council 40 AFSCME Staff Representative John Spiegelhoff.

Spiegelhoff opposes the budget reform bill because he says it's an attack on unions and public workers' rights. "We have said we're willing to do our part. This is union busting, plain and simple," he said.

On the other hand, Ellefson believes Walker's proposed bill, which if passed would require government employees to pay more towards their pensions and retirement, is necessary.

"Non-government employees are already required to do that. I believe it's long overdue that government employees start paying their fair share to help save Wisconsin," she said.

Two sides with two very distinct opinions and by the looks of things, neither is going to give up without a fight.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

Powered by Frankly