Washington D.C. (April 14, 2011) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today scored an admission from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that his decision to strip the rights of public workers to bargain collectively “doesn’t save any” money for the Wisconsin taxpayers.
“Your proposal would require unions to hold annual votes to continue representing their own members. Can you please explain to me and members of this committee how much money this provision saves for your state budget?” question Kucinich.
After an unresponsive answer by Governor Walker, Kucinich pressed, “Did you answer the questions? How much money does it save, Governor?”
“It doesn’t save any,” admitted Governor Walker.
Kucinich then requested permission to enter into the record a letter from the State of Wisconsin’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau (page 3 specifically), a nonpartisan state budget agency that confirmed Governor Walker’s efforts had no effect on the state’s budget.
“The Bureau was asked to identify provisions in the Governor’s bill that are non-fiscal; non-fiscal policy items that have no state fiscal effect. This letter confirms the obvious; that Governor Walker’s effort to repeal the rights of state workers is a non-fiscal policy item. No effect on the state budget shortfall,” said Kucinich.
The Chairman of the Committee then took the highly unusual step of reserving the right to object to the document’s the inclusion in the record.
Kucinich concluded by thanking Governor Walker for clarifying the purpose of his attack on workers’ rights.
“The attack on collective bargaining right is a choice, not a budget issue. …Governor Walker has inadvertently done a public service …and brought this issue to the forefront.”
After the hearing, Kucinich referred to the letter from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. “My good friend, Chairman Issa, inadvertently exposed the limitations of his key witness, Governor Walker, by refusing to permit into evidence a document that demonstrated that collective bargaining was a non-fiscal issue. Chairman Issa called attention to it and ensured it would get much broader circulation, for which I am very appreciative.”