Budget repair plan in the works. Walker options include refinancing debt, cutting public worker benefits, school aid. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 2/10/2011)
Excerpt: Gov. Scott Walker is considering (reformatted for your easy perusing)
- borrowing tens of millions of dollars to immediately pay off state creditors,
- cutting public worker benefits
- taking surplus money from a prescription drug plan for seniors to help balance a looming budget shortfall.
One Republican leader said Wednesday that Walker is also considering making sizable cuts in aid to schools over the next two years, which would be mostly but not totally made up for by allowing schools flexibility to lower benefits for teachers.
Because that's where the biggest pot of GPR money resides.
With the state facing a $137 million budget shortfall this year, the Republican governor is poised to release a budget repair bill in the coming days, but so far has only provided details on it to GOP leaders in the Legislature. Republican lawmakers have said a bill could be passed in a lightning-fast week that will be the largest challenge so far for the state's new GOP leaders.
But key questions remain, including whether Republicans will take the politically charged step of changing state law to take away public worker unions' ability to bargain for their benefits.