Under withering questioning from Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker admitted to a Congressional committee that the union-busting bill recently passed in Wisconsin (but on hold pending court challenge) does not save the state of Wisconsin one thin dime.
Squiggle on down for the details.
Like a dog going at a bone, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, didn't stop until he got the answer he was looking for from Gov. Scott Walker during the governor's testimony Thursday before the House Oversight and Goverment Reform Committee.
KUCINICH: I don't understand how repealing collective bargaining rights for public workers shows us anything about state debt. Let me ask you about some of the specific provisions in your proposal to strip collective bargaining rights. First, 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?
WALKER: That and a number of other provisions we put in, because if you're going to ask, if you're going to put in place a change like that, we wanted to make sure that we protected the workers of our state so that they had a right to know what kind of value they got on it, it's the same reason we gave workers the right to choose, which is a fundamental American right, the right to choose whether or not they wanted to be part of a union, and wheter or not they went up to a thousand ...
KUCINCH: How much money does it save, governor? Just answer the question.
WALKER: That particular part doesn't save any.
KUCINICH: OK, right. that's the point.
WALKER: In the same way, if you read the federal budget, I'll answer your question ...
KUCINICH: It obviously had no effect whatsoever on the state budget. I want to ask about another one of your proposals. Under your plan, you would prohibit employees from paying union member dues from their paychecks. How much money would this provision save your state budget?
WALKER: It would save employees up to $1000 per year they could use to pay for their pension and their health care contribution.
KUCINICH: Governor, it wouldn't save anything. there are minor administrative costs if any. It's obvious what the real intent is here. And I'll back it up ...
WALKER: It's to give workers the right. To give workers the right to choose.
KUCINICH: I'll back it up. Mr. Chairman, right here, from the state of Wisconsin's Legislative Fiscal Bureau, it's a non-partisan state budget agency much like the Congressional Budget Office, the bureau was ask to identify items 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 efforts to repeal the rights of state workers is a non-fiscal, non-fiscal policy item. No effect on the state budget shortfall. I ask unanimous consent that this letter be included in the record.