MADISON, Wis. (CBS) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is warning Senate Democrats hiding out in Illinois that layoffs will happen if they don’t return to pass a budget bill by Tuesday.
Walker says if no budget bill is passed, $165 million in savings will be lost, and Walker says that means big layoffs for state workers.
More than a dozen Wisconsin Senate Democrats continued to hide out in Illinois on Saturday, refusing to head back to Madison to vote on the anti-union legislation. No vote can be held on the measure without at least one of those Senate Democrats present in Madison.
Meanwhile, protesters camped out in the state Capitol in Madison again overnight. They oppose the budget bill, which calls for stripping nearly all collective bargaining rights for most state workers.
The demonstrators had been ordered to leave Sunday, but when they did not, police allowed them to stay. They were ordered to remain on the ground floor of the Capitol.
Some of the remaining demonstrators reportedly ignored that order, and until they comply, no more demonstrators are being allowed inside.
The lower house of the Wisconsin State Legislature, the Assembly, passed Walker’s budget bill last week.
Walker’s plan calls for all collective bargaining rights to be removed for state employees effective July 1, except with regard to wages. But any salary increase could not be higher than the consumer price index unless voters approve otherwise.
Walker says the move is needed to solve a nine-figure budget deficit. But critics – including U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) – claim the budget deficit concerns are overstated, and the real motivation is to bust state employee unions.
Walker took heat from opponents earlier this week, when Ian Murphy, a blogger for the left-leaning Web site “Buffalo Beast,” posed as Koch Industries billionaire and Walker backer David Koch and called Walker up.
In a 20-minute conversation, Walker openly discussed plans to issue layoff notices if his budget bill is not passed soon, and talked about ideas to punish the absent Senate Democrats, whom Murphy-as-Koch referred to as “Democrat bastards.” Murphy-as-Koch also suggested inserting “troublemakers” among the demonstrators, but Walker said while he had “thought about it,” the idea would be politically unadvisable.
Murphy-as-Koch also offered Walker a trip to California to celebrate his victory if the budget passes.
Tea Party protesters have been coming to Wisconsin to campaign in support of Walker.
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