Scott Walker held to his threat of issuing layoff notices to public employees because of the passing of a deadline for the budget reapir bill. The deadline, which concerns a $165 million refinancing scheme that Walker claims needs time to accomplish, seems bogus to many financial experts who I’ve consulted about this. Basically, bond restructuring doesn’t need four months lead time, which Walker wants here. It’s pretty clear that Walker is using the layoff notices as a tool to pressure unions and the Democratic Senators to finish off the bill. That’s been his history.
Walker’s plan calls for 1,500 layoffs, but the actual layoff notices, which is required by the collective bargaining agreement with state workers, could number as high as 6,000.
Meanwhile, as the Democratic Senators are faced with $100-a-day fines and the passing of a resolution of questionable constitutionality that allows state police to take them into custody if they are found inside Wisconsin, there is talk of compromise in the air.
Absent Senate Democrats in Wisconsin said they are in talks with the majority Republicans about possible compromises to end a stalemate over a bill, but no deal has been reached [...]
One of the boycotting Senate Democrats told Reuters in an interview on Thursday he remains hopeful a compromise will be reached.
“We are dealing with a matter of principle here, a matter of people’s rights, and so we remain hopeful that as a consequence of our talks with Senate Republicans that there is some middle ground,” state Senator Jim Holperin said.
That’s pretty non-specific, but I’ve heard about removing the need for re-certification of the union every year as well as the provision allowing workers to refuse to pay dues, as well as some limited collective bargaining allowances around work conditions. But nothing’s been decided.
Meanwhile, the news just keeps getting worse for Scott Walker. Even Rasmussen has his approval rating down to 43%, so you can probably knock a bit more off of that. 57% disapprove of Walker in the poll, showing that the whole state has an opinion, and it’s mostly bad. My favorite stat in the poll:
It’s also interesting to note that among households with children in the public school system, only 32% approve of the governor’s performance. Sixty-seven percent (67%) disapprove, including 54% who Strongly Disapprove.
That’s OK, it’s not like a lot of people in Wisconsin have kids or anything. Walker also only has a 77% approval from those who voted for him in 2010.
On a related note, Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO has a good op-ed today about Wisconsin in the Wall Street Journal, of all places.
UPDATE: With the restrictions on access lifted, huge crowds have returned to the Capitol.