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Budget may be balanced without union restrictions


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) – The public union bargaining restrictions would not have to take effect in order to balance the current state budget.

That’s what the Legislative Fiscal Bureau said today, after it analyzed the new budget repair bill that Republican Governor Scott Walker proposed this week.

The union law was supposed to save 30-million-dollars with higher payments by state employees for their health insurance and pensions. But the Fiscal Bureau said Walker proposed enough other measures to wipe out a projected $137 million shortfall in the budget that expires June 30th.

The bill Walker proposed this week would re-finance state debt, and use federal money instead of state money to provide the earned income tax credit to low-income workers. The extra state dollars would then be used to cover a cost over-run for the prisons, and increase Medicaid funding so benefits don’t have to be cut.

Democratic leaders have vigorously fought the union restrictions, but they favor the other measures in the budget repair bill. And those proposals will be taken up by lawmakers on Tuesday.